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Model Roxy Horner on #NailingDiabetes

Roxy Horner

We’re excited to announce that model Roxy Horner is supporting our #NailingDiabetes campaign this World Diabetes Day (Sunday 14 November).

Roxy is one of Britain’s most successful young models since her debut in British Vogue aged 17. She has modelled for brands including Coco De Mer and a worldwide campaign for Max Factor this year and photographers including Rankin. Roxy has more than 189,000 followers on Instagram and over 393,000 on Facebook. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 2021, a month before her 30th birthday. 

Being diagnosed with diabetes

Roxy says she was experiencing worrying symptoms before she was diagnosed: “I had next to no energy, my memory was appalling, I couldn’t focus, I would be laying on the sofa almost unable to move most days, I would randomly throw up.” 

She was also feeling particularly stressed, and says she feels this definitely contributed to making her feel worse. She now has more understanding of the link between stress and wellbeing, so she’s trying to learn to manage her diabetes along with her stress levels.  

Roxy spoke to her doctor about how unwell she was feeling, and was eventually diagnosed after taking herself to A&E. She says her diagnosis came as a shock to some extent, although she had been experiencing excessive thirst for years before. She said: “I have always drunk so much water all my life, but recently it had become a bit of a joke how much I was drinking. One of my friends who is also living with type 1 diabetes said you need to get checked for diabetes, so that was the first time it had even entered my thoughts. But it was still a massive shock hearing it when I was in hospital”. 

Roxy admits she didn’t know much about diabetes before she was diagnosed. She commented that people don’t realise someone like her who lives a fairly healthy lifestyle can get diabetes at her age, and that it can happen to anyone at any age.

Roxy was also in denial at first about her diabetes and decided to discharge herself from hospital after a few days and try to get on with life. She says: “I should have stayed longer and rested as the nurses told me to but instead I discharged myself and went straight to an awards ceremony that same day (very silly of me). I was desperately trying to live my life as normal and didn’t want to let people down but I ended up back in hospital that same night because I didn’t know what I was doing”. 

When she was diagnosed Roxy was taught how to prick her finger to test her blood sugars and how to inject insulin. She also uses a Freestyle Libre in her arm, which alerts her if her levels get too high or low. She’s now gotten more used to injecting herself with insulin every day.

Living with and managing type 1 

Roxy Horner

Roxy says that although type 1 has changed her life, she’s feeling more positive six months on from her diagnosis and is continuing to educate herself about the condition. Although she’s new to the diabetes community, she can see that people living with diabetes support each other, and she’d love to meet more people with the condition.

She says she’s received lots of great support from her family, boyfriend and friends, and received amazing care from the hospital when she was diagnosed. Her parents live in Australia, so she’d been unable to see them at the time because of coronavirus travel restrictions, but they were finally able to come to London recently.

Her agency, Premier, has also been understanding and supportive. She also adopted a dog, Coco, coincidentally in the same week she was diagnosed. She says Coco “has been the most incredible friend and emotional support buddy. She got me through the toughest year of my life.”

"Type 1 has changed my life, but the silver lining is that perhaps it has taught me to stand up for myself and listen to my body.”

Looking ahead, Roxy’s focusing staying positive and taking care of herself. She’s listening to her body and hoping to get back to her normal self again by next year. She says: “I know I will always have diabetes with me and that occasionally I’ll have to take time out but that’s okay. Right now, I’m taking baby steps.

“I’m trying to get back my peace, surround myself with loving, understanding people and get the hang of this. If I have shown up anywhere on my own since my diagnosis, it really has taken a lot for me to get there. Because when you’re new to this, it’s scary going anywhere on your own thinking ‘what if something happens and I can’t manage it on my own?’ 

“Getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease like type 1 diabetes isn’t just hard for the person who gets diagnosed, it’s really tough for the people close to them too. I appreciate anyone who has stood by me or anyone’s side during a hard time like this.”

Roxy still has some bad days where her blood sugar levels will yo-yo, going from up super high to really low and leaving her feeling unwell, but she’s also still had many good days since her diagnosis. 

Roxy’s advice if you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes

Roxy emphasises how you should try not to put too much pressure on yourself after you’ve been diagnosed: “Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing the best you can.”

“I would advise anyone who gets diagnosed with something serious to listen to your health care team and stay with them as long as they think you need to. When I was in hospital that’s when I finally got the help and support I needed. I am forever grateful for the help and support.

“Life doesn’t stop here, we might need to take a little pause every now and then but you will get up and come back stronger. You’ve got this!” 

Roxy Horner

Roxy on #NailingDiabetes 

“As a newly diagnosed person with type 1 diabetes, I really hope everyone takes part in Diabetes UK’s #NailingDiabetes campaign this World Diabetes Day.

"It’s a great excuse to get glammed up and paint your nails blue. It raises funds and awareness for a cause close to my heart – helping people with diabetes.”

Find out how to get involved with Nailing Diabetes this World Diabetes Day.

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