Luca Cappellini our Young Leader in Diabetes from Italy, has forged his personal experience from Dubai into his new project, the Young Leaders Italia (YLI). While parents of children with diabetes and adults are working together in a marvellous network in Italy, Luca felt that an organised youth, capable to stand up and speak for themselves, was missing. The first step he took was to create a group on Facebook, open for all young people with diabetes between the age of 18 and 30 to join. This group gave them the chance to meet and get to know each other, and share their personal experiences, which was appreciated by a large group of people from all over the country. Feeling that virtual meetings were not enough, the group held their first real meeting at a camp organised by the “Diabete Sport Training” project.
Luca helped organise this training, because he believes that sport is a fundamental part of daily life for every person sharing this condition and especially for young people. In every camp there is a team formed by local diabetologists, paediatric diabetologists, nutritionists, psychologists, nurses and, of course, professional trainers. Through specific tests and games, the team monitors the physical abilities of each young person from 6 to 30 years and issues a sport passport at the end. The participants learn how to train regularly, eat properly before training and manage their insulin therapy according to their physical activity in these camps.
They get the chance to try out several disciplines and to rediscover the pleasures of sport. During the Catania Diabete Sport Training camp, Luca and the other YLI members had the chance to explain to the other participants about their YLI project and several of them have joined the YLI enthusiastically. YLI aims to prepare young people with diabetes for future challenges and to represent the voice of young people with diabetes. Therefore YLI’s goal is to attract more members so the YLI group becomes a melting pot that brings together boys and girls from all over the country and combines the efforts of the several national associations. Luca about setting up YLI: “I’m very thankful for this experience and the support I receive from my YLI team to accomplish this. We have already signed up for two more camps to tell more people about YLI, which, surely, will be another success. Maybe we will meet you there?”