My name is Mary Shi (Shi Hongyi) and I’m the Young Leader from China. I’m studying Media and Communications and teach Chinese to students.
I was diagnosed Diabetes type 1 in July 2003, when I was 18 years old. At that time I was busy preparing for the entry exam for undergraduate studies in China. It all started when I felt extremely starved and thirsty all day long, which made me unbelievably fatigued and weak. I lost my weight to 40Kg in a short period of time, but nobody around me noticed I was sick even my parents. People thought I was under tremendous pressure because of the test. Therefore I didn’t go to see a doctor until the completion of the exam. For starters, I was stunned to learn my sugar level was 30.6. Due to the negligence of my physical condition, my sugar level had kept at a rocketing high level for at least 6 months which caused severe damage on my body.
Ever since I got diabetes, my whole life has changed. I had to take insulin injections four times and blood tests several times a day. Besides this hasn’t been the worst part of my life. What upset me most was I had to keep a strict diabetic diet which prohibiting me from eating like a normal healthy person, no sweeties, no junk food, no drinks, etc. and I can’t exercise too much either. What’s more is that I had to make my temper under control and not to take too much pressure. Instead, what I have been repeatedly reminded is to have a routine and superb healthy life style, like rising at 7 am, eating 3 low glycemic meals, etc. in order to stabilize my blood sugar. It seems I need to pay attention every second minute hour to balance my diet, action and temper which supposed to be adjusted by themselves automatically.
As a Young Leader representing China, I would like to achieve the first step on health care system. If we can’t persuade some institutions to change the attitude for type 1 diabetes, employing them as staffs immediately. At least, we should call for much more support from government health care system to rise the type 1 diabetes care and reduce the medicine burden.
In July 2011 "3C Study on Type 1 Diabetes in China" was launched in Beijing and in December 2012 the results of this study were presented by the Chinese Diabetes Society (CDS). This study gathered data and information on the Coverage, Cost and Care for people with Type 1 diabetes in China. I was a spokesperson for this study, explaining the public what it is like to live with diabetes in China and how the results of the 3C study can help improving the lives of people with diabetes in my country.
In July 2012 a second project was launched, called "China Type 1 Diabetes". For this project I also act as a spokesperson for the general public and media. The "China Type 1 Diabetes" project has the following aims:
• improving the social awareness for diabetes;
• eliminating the social discrimination of people with diabetes;
• reducing the medicine burden for people with diabetes;
• improving the care for people with Type 1 diabetes.
The most recent project I started, is translating a book in Chinese. The book, named ‘Think like a pancreas’, is written by an American Diabetes Educator, who has been living with Type 1 diabetes for over 10 years. I sincerely hope that this book can help people managing their diabetes and how to improve their quality of life while living with this ‘sweet burden’.
Read here an article about the Kick-off meeting of the "China Type 1 Diabetes" project including interviews with Professor Ji Li-Nong, coordinator of both the 3C study and the "China Type 1 Diabetes" project (Google Translate version, for original version in Chinese click here).