Stephanie Cesile

Australia

Hi everyone, I’m Stephanie Cesile from the sun burnt country - Australia. I’m 21 years old and have been living with type 1 diabetes since age 10. From day 1 I took control of my diabetes management with the support of my family and health care team. I began on syringes before making the big step to pens, and 5 years ago leapt into pump therapy and haven’t looked back. I am currently in my fourth year of university, studying combined degrees of business and science with the hope of being a geologist one day. After Melbourne in 2013 I have a renewed passion in my diabetes and making a difference for those living with diabetes and their families.

The greatest challenge I face is keeping up with the ongoing nature of diabetes. As much as we would like we can’t just take our insulin and then go about our business, the extensive checklist of things to remember to do each day to maintain ideal blood sugars is constantly in the back of your mind. We get no respite, no time to let our guard down and recharge before another round. The motivation and determination required to stay in tune with your diabetes seems that of a superhero at times. Slumps happen – we all experience them, but it’s the superhero within yourself and those you surround yourself with that provide the refreshing motivation you need to accept diabetes for what it is, it’s up to you whether you take it as an opportunity or a disadvantage.

We are the ‘lucky country’ here in Australia. Diabetes consumables and services are increasingly becoming more widely available and affordable to a greater number of people. The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is a government initiative which heavily subsidies the cost of pen and pump consumables, insulin vials and diabetes health services. We have a private and public health system in which those with private health insurance have little trouble in attaining an insulin pump at little or no cost, however there are hurdles with the public system. Blood glucose meters are inexpensive and widely accessible. Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is available however still extremely expensive. Diabetes management within the Aboriginal communities in rural Australia is a major area for improvement, as these communities are often quite poor and cannot afford the medication, or have to travel substantial distances to see a doctor/educator.

I am very honoured to be working closely with the Australian diabetes organisations, we have exciting things planned for this coming year. On a local scale, I was invited to be a peer leader at a Diabetes Tasmania youth camp over the summer, and this was an event I really enjoyed being a part of and would love to continue in future years. We are looking forward to organising events in the year which will bring people with diabetes together to mark special occasions, including World Diabetes Day in November. On a national level I am assisting in the development of the Diabetes Australia YLD initiative. On an international scale, I took part in a cycling expedition which took us to Vietnam and Cambodia in an effort to raise awareness and funds for Diabetes Tasmania and Life for a Child- collectively the group raised over AU$35,000 from individual efforts.

As a young leader I aim to strengthen my involvement with Diabetes Tasmania and Diabetes Australia in order to make a difference for those living with diabetes. For my YLD project I will be developing a network for people with diabetes to connect with each other, and specifically for the newly diagnosed to have the opportunity to be instantly connected with other people with as soon or as late as they like. This aligns with Diabetes Tasmania’s strategy which is aimed at improving the education and support services for youth in the state. Even though I aim to connect young adults rather than children the principles of the two aim to achieve a common goal, improving the lives of type 1 diabetes in Tasmania.