I attended a supporter event for JDRF in Melbourne last night. This was the first time that I have attended a JDRF event and I found it to be a really positive experience and I walked away feeling really invigorated after meeting some great people and hearing about some of the fantastic research which JDRF is supporting. The development for better type 1 diabetes management in the last 10 years as well as better understand about the cause and potential cures is absolutely outstanding. Given this short period of time and the significant progress and developments I am excited about things to come in near future.
The key note speaker for the evening was Dr Eliana Marino, Principal Research Fellow, Head of Immunology and Diabetes Laboratory, Monash University, who spoke about her teams research in the relationship of out gut micro-biota and immune diseases which include diabetes. The idea that our guts play such a significant role in our health seems to have opened up a huge area of research with the potential to have a great impact on the understanding and treatment of man immune diseases. Somewhat controversial, there were some great discussions about diet and gut health and their impact on type 1 diabetes. I spend a lot of time planning my diet and it’s great to know that this is not only beneficially nutritionally but also for my overall health and immunity.
CEO of JDRF Australia Mike Wilson gave an impassioned talk about the great things that JDRF has achieved with particular focus on initiating many of the research projects and developments which are now being put through clinical trials around the world. Hybrid closed loop systems, encapsulation and smart insulin trails are all happening around the world with very positive results being seen. Even more exciting is that the large diabetes, medical technology and pharmaceutical companies are investing in these research trials and developments meaning that they provide a real opportunity for them to bring these to the market and type 1 diabetics around the world. Mike also gave some great insight into the importance of all aspects of these developments from initial research through to market availability and how all parties need to work successfully to achieve the goal we all want.
JDRF supports and works in all of these sectors to get the breakthrough research through to patient delivery.
Last year I started making a regular monthly donation to JDRF (for obvious reasons) and seeing these developments and treatment possibilities mean I know that my donation is going towards great projects. If you are reading this blog then you probably have some link to type 1 diabetes and may already support a cause, but if you do not that I can strongly recommend that supporting JDRF in any way will make a very serious contribution to finding better treatment and a cure for type 1 diabetes. I will personally thank you for this.
For further information on JDRF and the great work that they are doing and support please got to the JDRF Website.
Received the regular email from JDRF Australia this morning and this headline caught my eye; “Stronger, but struggling with physical and mental health”. A quick scan through the piece and I instantly new what the author was talking about.
JDRF Australia: Stronger but struggling with physical and mental health
“Australians with type 1 diabetes (T1D) find living with the chronic disease has made them a stronger person, despite 1 in 2 experiencing both mental and physical health issues,…”
I certainly believe that type 1 diabetes has influenced my life and the person I have grown up to be. I wouldn’t say that it has had the biggest influence on me, but it has certainly reinforced some personality traits; punctual, well planned, always thinking about about that could happen, regimented, to note a few.
The physical and mental struggle I think I deal with fairly regularly especially around training and racing. I think that it is the pressure that I put on myself to perform, to get training sessions done and to compete unhindered that impact me the most. When my blood sugar levels are not right, when I go low or high during a session or a race, whenever my diabetes makes it a little difficult to get something done there is stress.
This is the mental struggle and the physical struggles associated with diabetes are fairly obvious (low, high, feeling sick, feeling tired, etc.). I haven’t generally manged this stresses very well and it is only recently that I have been able to calmly work through these stressful times. To do this I’ve learnt to accept that somethings things just don’t go to plan and an alternate won’t do me any harm. Resting, walking the dog or doing something with my girlfriend all take my mind off the stress and before I know it I am feeling more positive and then back to normal.
I recently saw a new sports doctor who asked me what where the things that I wanted to improve about myself. I listed a couple of things; strong, reduce injuries, better recovery and better performance. He then comment that I’d also want to get rid of the diabetes obviously. I hadn’t mentioned that and it later made me think, of course I would like a cure for type 1 diabetes but it is not something that I think about daily and I probably wouldn’t have achieved what I have if I had’t had diabetes. I am a proud diabetic and I will achieve all of the goals in my life with or without diabetes. No stress!!
Flicking through Instagram the other day and this one similar blue image keep coming up on my feed. It was the JDRF campaign for Diabetes Month, #T1DLOOKSLIKEME. The colour blue representing the international colour for diabetes and image representing the many faces of diabetes, you and I.
JDRF #T1DLOOKSLIKEME completing my first Ironman Triathlon in March 2015
The image and hashtag is simple but so powerful and I was blown away by the sheer number of people who had reposted it. This was a moment where I truly felt like I was part of a unique community and that I was not facing the daily challenges of diabetes alone. It was motivating, inspiring and empowering.
Absolute credit to JDRF for coming up with this campaign, I love it! You can easily get the image yourself from JDRF website and share it on all social media platforms just like I did.