Campaigning locally and nationally for better treatment
How have you been involved in the past year?
Advocating and raising awareness on social media and through our blog by sharing various campaigns. Writing to my MP and local CCG about various areas of concern in my area. Helping as part of the moderating team on the Diabetes UK forum to support people living with diabetes all over the UK. One online awareness activity that had an unexpectedly large effect was when I spent a day posting on Facebook every single time I interacted with my diabetes as part of World Diabetes Day. So many people I know who have no contact with Type 1 diabetes had no idea about the complexities of what was involved in the day-to-day running of it.
What events/talks have you attended and organised?
Within the past 12 months I've been invited to speak to healthcare professionals at a diabetes network day in Yorkshire and to families living with diabetes in the Midlands about using social media to support people living with Type 1. I was also able to get a place at TADtalk2017 which was very inspiring.
What has been the highlight of the past year? Have you learned/experienced something new, gained skills/confidence/meet new people?
While not specifically a Diabetes UK event, I would say that one of my highlights this year was certainly TADtalk. It was a great opportunity to hear some great speakers with really inspiring stories, and to meet people face-to-face that I have known through online peer-support for many years. It was great to see Diabetes UK, JDRF and INPUT involved in it too.
What challenges have you faced?
Sometimes it is difficult to find the time that you'd like to spend when life gets busy, and sometimes it's difficult and daunting to know how to make a start - but I find it very rewarding whenever I do.
Why would you recommend volunteering with Diabetes UK? What do you enjoy about volunteering?
It's an opportunity to give a little back. To stand alongside other people who are facing the same struggles every day and to try make Type 1 diabetes a little easier to live with. One of the best thing about it is getting to know people - either face-to-face or virtually. It has made me think about my own diabetes completely differently, and I have learned so much from it.
Has Mike's story inspired you? Find out more about becoming a Diabetes Voice.