By Millie Hainge
Hi I’m Millie. I’m 12 and I have type 1 diabetes. If I make one newly diagnosed person smile and realise they aren’t alone by reading this – then that’s a success.
My diagnosis happened when I was nine and I remember it being a bit unspectacular. I was a little under the weather so my mum took me to the doctors. I did a urine test and was told there and then that I had diabetes and was taken straight to A & E. Type 1 hasn’t stopped me from doing anything – just ten days after being diagnosed I flew to Florida for a family holiday. Yes I have to now be a bit more organised, but I still dance, swim and do cross-country running at school.
Here are my key messages and type 1 tips that I want to share with you all:
1. If you have type 1 diabetes then don’t worry – it can be scary at times but you will be fine. And, if you don’t have type 1 but know someone who does then you can still help and do your bit. One of the most important things in life is to help each other out.
2. Find out what diabetes equipment is available to you and ask for it. There are lots of different types of injections, insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors out there to choose from and it can be a bit overwhelming at first. My hospital didn’t offer me the type of pump I currently use – I requested it. I know some kids aren’t as lucky, but keep reading up about what is available, talk to other people, and go back to your hospital and tell them what you want and how you think it will improve your life. And remember, sometimes if you don’t ask you won’t get!
3. The next thing you can do is start telling everyone not affected by type 1 diabetes what living with the condition is like. People need to understand that we didn’t get type 1 because we ate too many sweets, and that insulin is a life-support which without we would die. If people know that then they might start to care, and if they care they might start to donate money to help us find the cure.
4. Raise awareness. Once I organised a ‘ping-a-thon’ at school, where everyone had to wear an elastic band around their wrist and ping it each time they ate or drank. This made them think about what they were eating just like people with type 1 do when they are balancing out their insulin. (And the sting of the elastic band is a little bit like finger pricking!)
5. Send your type 1 diabetes story to your local newspaper and write to your MP asking them to give their support. Last year I went on TV to talk about type 1 diabetes before going to parliament as part of JDRF’s #CountMeIn campaign. Most recently, I have written my own manifesto asking the Government to give a fairer deal to people with the condition.
I believe that a cure can’t be too far away. If we can land a probe on a comet millions of miles away then the cure for diabetes is just waiting to be found! We just need the money to look harder for it.
Now that you have read this, I need you to do something. Please take action and share the manifesto with your MP and parliamentary candidates standing for election. There are 400,000 of us in the UK with type 1 diabetes – so if we all work together then just think what we can achieve.