My name is Keegan Hall and I am 25 years old and have had Type 1 Diabetes for the past 9 years. I was born on the 16th December 1988. I work for my local diabetes association Diabetes South Africa as the Marketing Coordinator and I am the current President of the Young Leaders in Diabetes Programme.
The greatest challenge for me in living with Diabetes was reaching the acceptance stage. When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes it seemed easier for me to ignore the fact that I have a life threatening condition than to accept it- as that meant injecting myself at least 4 times a day and having to deal with the social stigma that is associated with having Type 1 Diabetes. This all changed when I met other people living with Diabetes and living successful, healthy and full lives with Diabetes, even in situations that are more difficult to deal with, than what I live with.
Diabetes in South Africa is becoming a bigger problem every day. The access to appropriate lifesaving medication and adequate diabetes education is poor; especially in the rural areas of South Africa, where some people with Diabetes need to walk for 4 hours to reach a local clinic and the big Government Hospital patients need to take days off work to ensure they can get a hold of their medication, due to the huge amount of people that one hospital serves.
My past projects have included: giving the youth a voice at a level in the Diabetes Association in South Africa that will make a difference, and there is a youth representative that now sits on the Executive Board of Diabetes South Africa. For World Diabetes Day 2012, in collaboration with Oz Healthcare Communication, I developed a public service announcement in support of the WDD message “Protect our Future”.
My project for the next two years will be to encourage healthy living and exercise for people living with Diabetes in South Africa through the organizing of walks, diabetes screening programmes and through supporting the efforts of my member association.