Nelli Backman


My name is Nelli Bäckman and I come from Finland. I graduated from High School in 2005 and from University of Applied Sciences as a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2010. Between High School and after University I've studied history, communications and pedagogics, but just more as a hobby. For the past four years I have worked in an Vocational School for adults as a Student Affairs Secretary.

I was diagnosed with diabetes during the Easter holiday in 1989, just before I turned 4. Since I have lived with it for so long I really do not have any memories of being "healthy". Actually, my first childhood memories are from a hospital where I spent two weeks after diagnosed. Because of my lack of memories from a "healthy" life I do not consider my self ill, I see diabetes more as a lifestyle and a part of my personality. My parents have also helped a lot, they have never really made any exceptions or treated me differently than my non-diabetic little sister.

My greatest challenge right now is to overcome the way of I see my diabetes (described above). Since I do not see it as a disease it is really a challenge to treat my self right. Even though I have all the equipments, good medical care and even a lot of motivation it all comes down to weather I see my self ill or not.

In my IDF Member Association I would like to build a steady platform for young adults to act. We established Nuorten Diabetesyhdistys ry (a nationwide association for youth 18-30 years working as all the other regional associations in Finland, under the main organization) in 2005 and we organize events for our members. Since the age limit is 30 we now face the problem of the board of directors getting too old. We need more young people to attend and this is where I aim as a Young Leader. I plan to use the international experience gained from the program to "allure" new, younger adults to gain interest and to attend to our events.

My YLD Project was to organize a cruise from Helsinki, Finland to Stockholm, Sweden for our members. The main idea was to have international peer support while having a lunch in Stockholm. We had 12 diabetics from around Finland. We had dinner on board and played games. In Stockholm we had free time and at lunch Frida Kullgren, a 19 years old author of a book for young diabetics was there with us talking about her book. We sent an invitation to young diabetics in Stockholm to come, but unfortunately got no replies. So, in the end our international peer support was only Frida and 12 Finnish diabetics, but we had lots of fun! I have also organized few informal <a href=" dinners in Helsinki</a>. These have been a great success and will definitely keep on organizing them in the future!

Adult Education Co-ordinator in Helsinki Business College Excellence Center