“Young & Type 1” celebrate 10 year milestone on World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day 2022 with UBC’s BC Diabetes Research Network
On November 14, 2022 – World Diabetes Day – UBC’s provincial research network the BC Diabetes Research Network gathered diabetes stakeholder organizations to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a group of change makers “Young and Type 1” – all living with type 1 diabetes. UBC hosted the community for a special documentary film screening of “The Human Trial”. The film by Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman captures the lived experience of the first patients to be enrolled in a clinical research trial aimed at reversing type 1 diabetes. The Vancouver International Film Festival Theatre was the setting for an evening of research, advocacy and community engagement.
With special thanks to our event sponsor Novo Nordisk and our World Diabetes Day partners including JDRF, Diabetes Canada, Diabetes Action Canada and the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. We are pleased to share this article by Young & Type 1 co-founder Ramya Hosak in her words expressing her reflections on the past ten years.
10 Years of Young and Type 1
As those of us with type 1 diabetes know, our life consists of a lot of numbers: our A1Cs, blood glucose readings, basal rates, carb to insulin unit ratio, pharmacy deductibles and co-pays…
It is really exciting to celebrate a milestone number this year – the 10-year anniversary of Young and Type 1, a group of those 18 – 40+ living with type 1 diabetes and their loved ones. The group came from a mutually recognized need by a few of us that we needed a fun, supportive group for those transitioning into the adult healthcare system, which presents its own challenges when living with type 1.
Our members hail from across BC, nationwide and even internationally. In the last month alone, we had people connecting with us online from 26 countries, as far away as Lithuania to Panama.
We are at over 650 members in our private Facebook group online and over the years we have volunteered together at various organizations, worked with politicians to successfully advocate for universal insulin pump coverage and CGM coverage, supported researchers as patient advisors, and worked with amazing community partners to host educational events.
We have put together Tough Mudder and BMO Marathon teams (I confess I was not part of those) and have also had way too many pub nights and parties to count (I was part of all of those). Does anyone remember The Cambie? 😀
But we started ten years ago with about 4 or 5 of us at a Starbucks at Holdom Skytrain Station. If anyone had told us to plan for what was ahead or what we could achieve working collaboratively together, we would not have believed it. It was with a lot of grassroots organizing, late nights, perseverance and passion that Young and T1 has been able to achieve our goal to better the lives of those living with type 1 diabetes.
I think research must often feel like that.
I wonder if Banting or Best could ever have imagined what their successors down the road would achieve in diabetes treatment. And, for World Diabetes Day, how awesome is it that we can claim so many of our diabetes research success stories here in Canada – such as the Edmonton Protocol in the late 1990s, the advances pursued by researchers here in BC and around the country.
To me and I know for the rest of the type 1s and our loved ones, it is inspiring to meet the researchers who work tirelessly – through late nights, with passion, perseverance and collaboration. We are truly grateful. Research is not an easy job – a huge thank you for continuing to bring us hope.
So back to numbers. This is my 15th anniversary living with type 1 diabetes. 5 years into my diagnosis (10 years ago), I was struggling. I felt alone without a network of folks just like me that I could connect with and ask questions of.
Young and T1 changed my life and I have gained more from it more than I have ever put in – thank you to all the members here tonight for your collaboration, vulnerability and sharing your lived experience.