I am constantly amazed at young people affected by type 1 diabetes for their resilience, bravery, and ability to seemingly step beyond their years to advocate within their local, regional, and national communities to increase awareness, fund research, and improve therapy coverage. While most kids are concentrated on school, sports, and playing with their friends, these amazing young adults somehow find time for all of that and time for spreading awareness and educating others about diabetes. George Dove is one of these amazing people. George is from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England and recently dropped by our diabetes headquarters here in California to share his story after attending the JDRF’s Children’s Congress in Washington D.C. He’s also advocating closer to home as a JDRF spokesperson and working to improve access to insulin pump therapy and CGM in his local hospital. I had the opportunity to sit down with George and ask him a few questions about pumping and his advocacy work. Here is what he had to say!
Q. George, thanks for taking the time to talk to us today! Can you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
A. I’m George, I’m 15, I’m from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire and I was diagnosed when I was 8 years old, August 1st, 2006.
Q. What was it like to experience a diabetes diagnosis at such a young age?
A. As you can imagine it was very scary for me. I had never heard of diabetes before so when the hospital told me I’d have to inject myself to stay alive every day, prick my finger at least 8 times a day and all the other responsibilities that come along with having type 1, I was quite terrified.
Q. You are very optimistic and mature, how do you feel that diabetes has started to shape you as a person?
A. I think my diabetes has given me some fantastic opportunities that I’m very grateful for and am very lucky to have participated in and in the future when they eventually find a cure I’ll be happier to say I’ve had it and been cured than I’d be to say I’d never had it before.
Q. Once you and your family decided to stop multiple daily injections and try an insulin pump, how did you handle that transition and how has your daily diabetes management changed since you started using your pump?
A. The transition was pretty easy, probably because I was so excited to be put on one. And in terms of my daily management it’s helped me greatly. My glucose readings have improved and my attitude and outlook on life have also improved greatly.
Q. What do you like most about using an insulin pump and CGM?
A. I love the freedom I can get with my pump. I don’t have to eat specific foods at specific times, I can do what I want when I want and it’s also more socially acceptable. I love the CGM because I get 288 readings a day which I can view on a graph which means I can see trends better and with the help of my doctor alter my care accordingly giving me better control.
Q. I understand you do a lot of advocacy work in your local area to increase awareness of diabetes and to promote the use of insulin pump therapy. Can you talk a little about the work you do?
A. I speak at local groups and clubs as well as other places to tell people about my life and what it’s like to live with diabetes. I also raise awareness of pumps and cgm’s so I can hopefully encourage more people to get access to them and to inform them about the better care that they may not be getting or even know about.
Q. You recently visited the U.S. to attend the Children’s Congress in Washington D.C. Can you tell me what led you to apply for that program and how that experience was for you?
A. I was prompted to apply by people who I knew in JDRF because of all the work I did and as for the experience, it was good to see how diabetes is handled in the U.S. and hopefully this will give me some information to take back to our Type 1 Parliament event here in the U.K. in 2014.
Q. What motivates you to be an advocate for children with diabetes?
A. The thing that motivates me is how much difference the pump has made to my life and the fact that it’s hard to access here in the UK so that keeps me doing what I’m doing.
Q. George, before you go, do you have any advice or anything you’d like to say to someone who’s thinking about trying an insulin pump to help manage their diabetes?
A. Stick with it because because it’s an amazing piece of technology. If you’re still deciding I highly recommend it because it will change your life for the better.”
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Medtronic Diabetes insulin infusion pumps, continuous glucose monitoring systems and associated components are limited to sale by or on the order of a physician and should only be used under the direction of a healthcare professional familiar with the risks associated with the use of these systems.
- Successful operation of the insulin infusion pumps and/or continuous glucose monitoring systems requires adequate vision and hearing to recognize alerts and alarms.
Medtronic Diabetes Insulin Infusion Pumps
- Insulin pump therapy is not recommended for individuals who are unable or unwilling to perform a minimum of four blood glucose tests per day.
- Insulin pumps use rapid-acting insulin. If your insulin delivery is interrupted for any reason, you must be prepared to replace the missed insulin immediately.
Medtronic Diabetes Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) Systems
- The information provided by CGM systems is intended to supplement, not replace, blood glucose information obtained using a home glucose meter. A confirmatory fingerstick is required prior to treatment.
- Insertion of a glucose sensor may cause bleeding or irritation at the insertion site. Consult a physician immediately if you experience significant pain or if you suspect that the site is infected.
For more information, please visit MedtronicDiabetes.com/isi.
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