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Shelby celebrates 100 years of insulin

Shelby Sangha, 22, lives in Wolverhampton and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May 2016 while studying for her A Levels. Here she talks about the discovery of insulin and her experience of living with diabetes.

Shelby Sangha from Wolverhampton

“I remember thinking,  I'll be okay. Nobody else around me has it, my mom and nan have type 2 diabetes but I didn’t know anyone who had type 1. I remember thinking I can just carry on as normal.

"When I had my first appointment at the diabetes centre and they gave me insulin injections and a blood glucose meter, I thought 'oh no'. It was so overwhelming. I refused to take my medication because I never wanted to do it. Having to inject before meals when no one else had to, having to watch the things I eat. It was a huge struggle.

"About a year ago something finally clicked and I realised diabetes isn't going anywhere and I'm stuck with this for life, that's when I decided to get myself into gear. I did the NHS education course Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) in February 2021 and it has honestly changed my life alongside my Freestyle Libre.”

Shelby (pictured), who works for West Midlands Ambulance Service as an Emergency Medical Dispatcher, also shared how people react to her diabetes and what changes she would like to see. 

“I feel generally that people's idea of diabetes is just sugar related. I've been asked many of times, ‘are you allowed to eat that?’  My comment back is, yeah, just need to take a bit of insulin. It well and truly infuriates me which is why I've decided to become a Speaker Volunteer for Diabetes UK, because I want to help people understand the condition, both type 1 and 2.

"I'd like to be treated as equal to everyone else. It's a hidden condition for many so there definitely is a need for more awareness."

And as we celebrate 100 years since this major scientific breakthrough, Shelby shares what the discovery of insulin means to her:

"Insulin has saved so many lives. Personally, my life is all about diabetes and I can’t imagine life without insulin. I'm so thankful for the discovery of insulin. Some days I hate it and some days I love it. It has made me a better person, made me feel better on the bad days and even stronger on the good days!" 

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