Igniting My Diabetes Advocacy Fire – by Bianca Grima

Bianca has only recently been diagnosed with diabetes, but you shouldn’t underestimate her. Seeking to bust diabetes myths, she has taken to YouTube with her video to help fight diabetes stigma. We love her optimism and positive attitude to life with diabetes and can’t wait to see where her diabetes advocacy takes her.

My name is Bianca, I’m 17 years old, and I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in June 2019. I am insulin dependent. Despite my diagnosis still feeling fresh, I have already had to learn and adjust as diabetes has completely changed my life. Everything is different because diabetes is much more than just watching the food we eat. It’s also about knowing when your body has had enough. Listening to your body is something I think we must all learn to do; if not, they’ll crumble. But I’m not going to lie and say the stigma hasn’t gotten to me. 
It wasn’t long ago that I sat there after being told I had diabetes. Deep down, I felt as if I’d done something wrong and guilty like it was my fault. It’s important to acknowledge that a lot of this stigma can subconsciously come from ourselves. It’s easy to beat ourselves up and we’d never treat someone else the way we treat ourselves. So I think it’s important to take the first step into this journey and love yourself. It’s not easy and it won’t happen overnight, but I promise that self-love can banish the stigma we hold on ourselves. Sadly there will always be people out there that stigmatise illnesses as sometimes it’s just easier for people to assume things about diabetes. For example, some people think diabetes is due to eating the wrong foods or being overweight. In reality, no matter what the cause of diabetes is, no one chooses it, and no one should feel like it’s their fault. 
The best way we can fight this stigma is through education. So next time someone tries to tell you about the new cure for diabetes they saw on the news or that you should try kale juice, don’t feel defeated. Instead, politely thank them for showing they care then educate them. Tell them that if and when they ever find a cure, your doctors will be the first to tell you, and that if kale juice was enough we’d have done it. And say it with kindness to educate those around you and hopefully they’ll educate the people around them. This is the step to creating an understanding and breaking down the stigma.

Diabetes is just one piece of me, and I’m made up of a million pieces. Some days diabetes gets me down but I promise you I will wake up every day with a plan to change this world and my diabetes will not get in the way. I want to educate and raise awareness on what diabetes is and who it affects. Diabetes doesn’t just affect me, my mum and nan both have type 1 diabetes, which makes it very close to my heart. Diabetes can sometimes feel like a curse, but I have never been healthier and happier than I am today. In many ways, this diagnosis has set me free. It gave me a purpose.
I’ve always loved using my voice; I like creating interest and watching people learn. Deciding to become a diabetes advocate is where I have found a passion. After my diagnosis, I almost instantly felt I had a new-found mission to spread awareness and educate others on diabetes. I love helping others and also create content and spread awareness on mental and physical health so I feel as if this is my next step.  I am currently creating YouTube videos about my diabetes journey and showing what diabetes is and how I live with it. 
We were put on this earth to create something lasting, and nothing lasts longer than knowledge and inspiration.

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