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Connecting with Type 1 diabetics

On Tuesday this week, I was lucky enough to be part of Abbotts’ dX2 2020 event – their first digital diabetes exchange and experience event. It was such fun!

dx2 south africa 2020

Diabetes exchange and experience

Last year, Abbott held the first ever diabetes influencer event in Cape Town and it was such a joy. Twenty Type 1 diabetics in one room felt like a party! It was such a relief to meet other people who understood exactly what it was like to have to figure out carbs for every meal, and calculate insulin, and worry about highs and lows.

This time, thanks to COVID-19, the event was digital. But that same feeling of relief and recognition was there. I was honoured to be part of the line-up. Endocrinologist Prof Joel Dave spoke about the importance of time in range (we have an article about that coming up soon!), dietician Donna van Zyl gave us some excellent nutrition tips for people living with Type 1 diabetes, and Michelle Bornman from Abbott talked about remote blood sugar monitoring tools. Then it was my turn – I had a talk filled with diabetes memes where I spoke about my journey with diabetes so far, and my never-ending quest for balance.

diabetes webinar south africa

Connecting with other Type 1 diabetics

The surprising hit of the day, though, was the chat function. I didn’t think about it beforehand, but one of the great things about a webinar is that while the presenter is speaking, you can discuss the points and share your experiences. We had a detailed discussion about what percentage time in range everyone is able to achieve, how many carbs we eat at every meal, and how frustrating daily life with diabetes can be. It felt like a chat with friends who totally understood what I’m dealing with every day… Which, of course, it was.

type 1 diabetics

Sweet Life Talks

It made me realise that there’s a real gap for this kind of connection. I think Diabetic South Africans is an awesome space to discuss specific topics, prompted by posts. I think the Sweet Life community blog shares inspiration and information that people can depend on. But wouldn’t it be lovely to have somewhere to meet, once a month, to chat?

Here’s the idea: once a month, during lunch hour, we’ll host Sweet Life Talks. We’ll get an endocrinologist or psychologist or dietician or podiatrist or person living with diabetes to speak to us on a certain topic for half an hour, and then have another half hour for a Q&A session. And all the while, we’ll be able to chat about our lives with diabetes, and how they relate to the topic at hand.

I’m so excited about this! We’ll kick off in July, and I’d love to hear any topic suggestions you have – either as a comment here or on the Facebook post below.

Do you know many diabetics ‘in real life’?

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.