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Young Leaders in Diabetes

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Being part of the Young Leaders in Diabetes program (YLD) with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an honour. I don’t think I have fully appreciated this opportunity until training began. This year, 147 young leaders arrived in Melbourne

to discuss prospective projects to improve the lives of people with diabetes in their home country. Through a variety of workshops and guest speakers, we are gaining skills and networks to develop successful projects. Invaluable insights, wise words, inspiring experiences and touching stories made regular appearances throughout our training.

On day one of training, we were shown how strong young leaders can be when united. We wrote our names down on blue rope (or webbing, as I have been corrected) and as we passed it around, the reality of this program hit me. There I was, standing amongst 146 leaders from all over the world, all with the same vision and passion. Each time I speak with a young leader from a different part of the world, I am amazed by their stories and experiences. And each time I feel more grateful for what I have – not just diabetes wise but life in general.

Sometimes, I feel like an imposter in this crowd of accomplished leaders. I have been recognised because of my dabbles in social media through my blog and twitter, which I absolutely love doing. I also love volunteering for diabetes camps and giving back to the diabetes community. I believe in equal access and will (and have) spoken out against discrimination towards diabetes of any sorts. All of these activities that I do ultimately serves me. But our actions have ripple effect consequences and by pursing our passions we will end up helping others.

From discussions with young leaders during our leadership training, common issues emerging from each region are discrimination, access to medical supplies and lack of awareness. We won’t stand for any of these and with each of our projects, we will work towards making life easier for people with diabetes across the globe. Together, we bring each other hope, inspiration and support to make our dreams and goals possible. Go forth! And let’s change the world.

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Pancreatically challenged, diabetes advocate, PhD student and dietitian - working to positive changes within the diabetes community and healthcare setting. Although diagnosed at age of 19 with T2DM, the type of diabetes I have is under constant debate. Finally pumping as of March 2014.

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