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Georgia - Fashion Blogger / Stylist

Q & A

Looking back at the time of your diagnosis in 2008, what was or has been the most challenging period with type 1 diabetes? I got diagnosed about 6 years ago now, and I can still remember everything as if it were yesterday. There have been a few challenging periods, the most challenging would have to be the responsibility you hold for your diabetes everyday and how it all affects you long term, I can deal with hypo's and travelling with diabetes, I survived White Water Rafting in South Africa and the Miley Cyrus Mosh Pit, I know I have restrictions but I'm finding out that there aren't many. The most challenging times for me happen when I meet with the endocrinologists and educators to find out 'the best I've been doing' isn't good enough. There will always be room for improvement with everything, diabetes included but these daunting meetings affect and challenge me the most mentally.

What have you learnt about yourself, and people around since your diagnosis? I have gained more confidence and independence in myself, it has given me the reassurance I needed to know I can handle things, of course I have enormous help from my parents. Since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I decided to become a Youth Ambassador and I have grown from a shy girl who couldn't stand up in front of a classroom to speak to someone who can now get on any stage and carry out a speech. I have shocked myself at how organised and independent I have become, thankfully I have the support and faith from my parents who have made me realise that you can achieve and do anything! I've become a stronger person.

Aside from the obvious, what would you like to see changed for people living with type 1 diabetes? Awareness is something that I have noticed has improved but there Is still miles to go. I think one thing that I would like to see changed and improved in the future is the education around type 1 diabetes, both in terms of educators right through to workplaces and schools, there needs to be a consistency that takes the stress factor off every person with type 1 diabetes so they can live a more comfortable lifestyle with the support they need and should have.

Recognising that you have been diagnosed for 6 years, what impact has it had on your education and employment prospects? I have had a few different jobs prior to the job I'm at now and all have presented their own challenges, however fortunately none to the extent where it has made me want to quit. Some places I held back saying I had type 1 diabetes, and others I announced in the interview, I am comfortable letting people know I have diabetes, and I believe it is important for people around you to know of your medical conditions. School was a bit harder, being a newly diagnosed, I found it really difficult and one instance really affected me, I was running late to my health class after lunch as I had a hypo, so I was waiting for my levels to go back up, when it finally got to a reasonable level I went to class and quickly settled into my seat but had to have my long lasting snack when my teacher in front of the class yelled at me for one being late and 2 eating in class, I can understand how this would look however I had explained to her previously that sometimes I would need to eat or leave etc. After she finished yelling and addressing the class I went up to her, holding back tears and explained what happened, she felt horrible and went to find any snack she could to help me.

Do you tell people you meet that you have type 1 diabetes, and if so how and why? It's not the first thing I announce, if it is relevant to the time I will however I will wait till I want to tell them, it's not a matter or hiding it, I just don't always find it relevant to bring up in the first meeting with someone.

You have a very supportive family that are there for you, guiding and encouraging you to navigate your health needs. How has type 1 diabetes impacted yours, and your family's life? Our life now has a new routine, and it's all very natural now but at first, it was a huge shock to our family, it meant a new way of life. Although there are difficult times having a supportive family makes it manageable to get through them.

Do you think people are still confused, about what type 1 diabetes is and the impact in has on all areas of life? Definitely, before having type 1 diabetes I didn't know the first thing about it, but now everyone who is around me is aware of it - awareness makes a difference, because if it doesn't affect you solely you are oblivious to it, that's why there needs to be more education on diabetes and everything that comes with it.

I understand that you have recently been diagnosed as celiac. I can images the challenges, however what do you think has been the biggest change and challenge? Being celiac has been really difficult, finding food to suit my diet both in supermarkets and restaurants is very challenging, the biggest challenge would be going out to dinner with a group of people and having to make sure there's something on the menu I can eat.

Let's go back to when you were first diagnosed, if you could give advice about type 1 to a young person, what pearls of wisdom would you give them about life with these conditions? It does get easier but each day will be different to the last, so don't stress because you're doing the best you can and sometimes there is no explanation and don't let it stop you from doing what you want to do (unless it affects you health wise).

Fast 5

Who do you most admire? I have a few people, but I most admire my parents, who no matter what don't give up and always support me and believe in me. They are both the strongest people I know and have shown me the importance of a good work ethic and going after what makes me happy.

Your greatest weakness? I worry too much about things that aren't in my control.

Greatest strength? The ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark it is.

What keeps you awake at night? If it's not my blood sugar, or worrying I dream about all the places I wish to visit, travelling is my biggest interest.

Five dream dinner-party guests? Audrey Hepburn, Harry Styles, Miley Cyrus, Ellen DeGeneres and Rachel Zoe

Your one wish? To see the world!

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Being a teenager with type 1, it can be hard to juggle subject timetables, social commitments with a healthy lifestyle, it would great if people understood more about type 1...

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"Type 1 Voice exists to improve people's experience of having type 1 diabetes and enabling dignified, happy and healthy living.

This is achieved through collaboration with government and industry as well as raising awareness in the workplace, school and the community."