Why you got involved in the project?
I remember seeing the project advertised on facebook when I was relatively newly diagnosed, you know that stage where you still bother googling type 1 diabetes and get freaked out at all the people telling you to eat cinnamon. At the time I was feeling very frustrated by the attitudes I encountered from my friends, family and the general public. The project has always felt like something exciting because there is so little done for people with type 1 in this country. I was, and still am, much more interested in increasing general awareness than diabetes education per se, because that’s what I have struggled with myself. Immediately after I became involved I realised the value of spending time with other pancreatically challenged people and I hope that the website we have created might provide other people with the opportunities and experiences we have all enjoyed by being involved.
Why the project is important for young people with T1?
It seems to me that as far as the media and most of Britain are concerned, Type 1 diabetes disappears in people over the age of 11. The resources I was given when I was diagnosed at the age of 16 were aimed at primary school children. Type 1 Diabetics as adults are left to their own devices, with little to no representation. This leaves what is already an isolating condition to become something to hide and avoid. I don’t think we realise how much our diabetes impinges on our life, or how nice it is to realise that other people have the same experiences. A problem shared and all that. Little media attention and the blame culture which surrounds diabetes more generally, means that young type ones can be forgotten about.
Through the website, this project will
provide a resource for type 1 diabetics and
anyone else who is interested to learn
about the condition. I hope that it will also
supply the foundations to a far bigger
cultural change in diabetic and wider
communities. Hopefully by connecting with
each other we can help to educate our
healthcare professionals, friends and communities about our condition.
What being Type 1 means to you?
Being type 1 has meant different things to me at different times. Sometimes it becomes very peripheral and melts into the background but sooner or later it always makes itself known in a less than pleasant manner and forces me to get on with taking care of myself a bit better. Sometimes it feels like an overwhelmingly massive part of my life that dwarfs everything else. Sometimes it’s just really, really annoying. However being type 1 has provided me with opportunities and strength of character which I don't think I ever would have had without it. I think the barrier of having type 1 makes me feel I have to work ten times harder than the average person, not because I think other people see us as limited, but because I think it would be very easy to limit ourselves. However, I don’t wish this hadn’t happened to me. Not because I wouldn’t wish it away in a heartbeat, but because I would be a very different person without it. So embrace it or avoid it (and I think I settle for something in between) type 1 diabetes is a formative part of my personality which makes me who I am. That said if someone offered me a cure tomorrow I would jump at the chance.