My name is Jenny Pettersson and I am from Sweden. I was born on the 9th October 1989 in Stockholm, where I lived for 22 years. I currently live in Örebro where I study Human Resources at the university. Next to my studies I am the president of Young Diabetes Sweden, which is a youth organization for youths with diabetes.
I got diagnosed with diabetes when I was 12 years old on the 11th September 2001. The first two weeks were intense and I had a hard time grasping the fact that I was going to live with this disease my whole life. But thanks to some brilliant nurses and doctors I got in to a routine with the blood sugar testing, the needles, etc. pretty quick and I now see it as a part of my life. The first and the best memories I have from living with diabetes is actually from the hospital, because of the amazing people I met there. Of course it was hard because I was newly diagnosed, but I also remember that I watched movies and TV all day and ate a lot of ice-cream because I had to gain so much weight.
Before I got involved in Young Diabetes my biggest challenge was that I felt very alone in my diabetes. My parents and friends tried to help me, but they could never really understand what it is like to live with diabetes. This all changed when I went to my first camp with Young Diabetes. I got to know people of my own age that had diabetes and thus knew how it felt to live with diabetes. Since then I have never felt alone in living with diabetes, because I know that there is always someone that I can call that will understand how I feel.
I want to make sure that Young Diabetes Sweden keeps on being a strong organization for youths with diabetes and that it with input and inspiration from other youth groups around the world will get even better. I hope that I can be a part of this aim by meeting other Young Leaders and exchange experience and ideas on how to make life easier for young people with diabetes.
My project as a Young Leader in Diabetes is a project to collect money for the IDF programme Life for a Child and for the Swedish diabetes fund, called Walk for Life. In Walk for Life local diabetes associations from all around Sweden collaborate in arranging walkathons every year on the second weekend in September. The aim is not only to raise money, but also to get young people interested in the local associations and motivate them to volunteer or work in these associations.