For the past two days, I’ve been at the World Diabetes Congress as part of the Diabetes Australia Young Leaders program.
It was an incredible honour to be asked, and I have had the most incredible two days! I sat in on so many sessions, and my favourite was one on Social Media and diabetes, presented by Annelieke Overbeeke, an IDF young leader. However we sat through a complications talk that made me want to throw up. Head in the sand head in the sand.
There are a few things that I’ve really taken home from this Congress.
The first is a renewed appreciation for how lucky we are in Australia. Sure, I may bitch about the cost of living with type 1 diabetes, but the important thing is that I will ALWAYS have access to medical supplies and medical care, and live under a government that subsidises most of my supplies (touch wood – if a political party tries to cut it I will personally stab them all with my syringes and then move back to the UK). Hearing studies done in India and Africa, where the issue is not only the cost of insulin but access to it, as well as a lack of education, was incredibly sobering. To sort-of borrow an idea from Renza, it makes all the fuss about changing the name of type 1 diabetes a huge first world problem. There are bigger issues in diabetes than associated and undeserved stigma – let’s concentrate on fighting all types of diabetes and helping those less fortunate rather than having a bitch about a name shall we?
The second is an increased love for the diabetes community. I didn’t think it could get any bigger, but it has! It really is indescribable, how quickly you bond with people, and the passion that you can nearly feel flying around the room. My lovely #OzDOC buddies and the new connections that I’ve made over the past 2 days are such an incredible group, it’s weird to think that 3 years ago I didn’t know any of these people. We’re a family. #dlove
Lastly, I’ve come away with not only a renewed passion for the work I want to do regarding diabetes and eating disorders, but also connections to help me do it, yay! Funnily enough, one of the DA Young Leaders who I have volunteered on a camp with has the same aim as me, but we hadn’t talked about it until the function last night. We now have each other to workshop with and make more connections, ring more people etc. which is incredibly exciting.
I am so grateful for this opportunity!! If I had my way I’d write a thesis on all the sessions and why they were important, however I leave the country in just over 48 hours, so I should probably go and pack. Clean my room. Pack. Man I hate packing.