Young Leaders from United Kingdom

Hi all, my name is Alex Silverstein and I am from the United Kingdom (London). I was born on the 7th November 1987, a week earlier than expected. Had I been born on the 14th November I would celebrate my birthday on World Diabetes Day. Therefore, perhaps it was fate that at age one I developed type 1 diabetes. Being diagnosed so young I can’t really imagine life without diabetes and this helps me to keep a positive attitude. My mother also thinks its the reason I did a degree in Mathematics, because I began playing with decimals when testing my blood glucose levels from age two. After Graduating from University in July 2009 I began volunteering for the Charity Diabetes UK in London. In March 2010 I began working fulltime for Diabetes UK and have done two roles, one as Manager of all volunteers in London and another as Young Adult Project Manager for the Charity.

My name is Elizabeth Rowley and I have had diabetes for over 20 years. I grew up in a small town in Illinois (USA). In 2011 I moved to London to pursue a Master’s degree in International Development at the London School of Economics to better understand global issues and work to change systemic problems. Living with diabetes has been a struggle, but I have done my best not to let it stop me from doing the things I want in life. Diabetes has brought me my best friend and husband (who also has Type 1 diabetes) and it has given me lots of determination and passion.

My first experience with diabetes is best explained through the following quote from my aunt: ‘’Your mom and dad were totally blind-sided with the diagnosis. I think they were both in shock. It was so horrible and so sad to administer insulin shots to a little 4-year old and to prick your little fingers for testing. I think your mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, and me would all have happily taken the diabetes from you and given it to ourselves if such a thing were possible. It was true when you were four and it is just as true today.’’ I am lucky to have such a supportive family who made my diagnosis experience as easy as possible, despite the shock.

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