I’m Bec, and I like swimming. I also like riding bikes, SCUBA diving, sailing, traveling to far flung places and my job. I have had type 1 diabetes since I was 17. I need between five and seven injections and up to ten blood tests every day to stay alive. I also need to count the grams of carbohydrate in every meal and snack to dose my insulin appropriately, and manage the impact of exercise, which uses up the glucose in my blood.
I am the CEO of the Telethon Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre, a first-of-its kind facility for children with type 1 and their families in Perth, Western Australia. Since we opened in July 2015 we have built an amazing ‘type 1 tribe’ – a local community of over 550 families impacted by type 1, who attend our workshops, camps, events and clinic.
At the Family Centre, we advocate DIY-Diabetes: we educate and empower people with type 1 to deeply understand their diabetes, to adopt adaptive management strategies, be informed and agile about their tools, and to feel confident to question, hack, experiment and challenge the status quo in pursuit of better managed blood glucose.
Living with type 1 can be a lonely road, and I believe in the power of peer support. Becoming part of a community of people with diabetes breaks down the isolation we can feel living with a relentless and misunderstood chronic disease. Having friends and peers with type 1 has helped me to learn, grow, and develop confidence. It also makes me feel like I’m not the only one in the universe who wrangles with the challenges and curve balls diabetes throws at me each day.
My message to the diabetes community is that a life with type 1 can be a life without limits. And that’s where swimming to Rottnest Island comes in.
Enjoy the journey with me.