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'My mum had to pin me down to give me my injections'

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"I was only three-and-a-half when I was diagnosed with diabetes and obviously it was a very difficult time because I was so young. I didn't really understand what it was and my mum had to pin me down to give me my injections. I think a lot of mums who have children with diabetes will appreciate how hard it is to do that to a little girl.

When I was about eight I learnt how to do my own injections. I was very aware even at that age that I couldn't always depend on my parents. One day I would grow up and move out so I would have to learn to do it myself.

I remember the first time I did it, standing in the kitchen at home with my mum. She stuck a needle in her belly just to reassure me that it was going to be ok. I did and I was taken out as a treat afterwards. But even then I don't think I really understood the importance of what I was doing.

It does get easier

I'd be lying if I said it wasn't hard at times, and I think any diabetic would agree with me. But it does get easier and it becomes part of your daily routine. You have to stay on the ball to keep yourself healthy.

I check my bloods all the time. I like to know exactly what my levels are before I go on stage. I'm very lucky with the way my life is turning out but it does mean I need to keep on top of my bloods all the time.

You burn a lot of energy performing on the stage. Singing burns more than a run, so it's important for me to keep my insulin levels up. I always make sure I eat and have food in my tummy before I perform.

I believe it's made me stronger

I did question myself for years. "Why me? Why can't I go one day without having to have an injection?" but now I believe it's made me stronger. I think it has helped me to cope with the whole X-Factor experience. I had to mature at an early age and I had to learn to be strong. It was this strength that helped me cope when I was voted off the show – twice.

My uncle has diabetes. He was diagnosed when he was 14 but I don't know of anyone else in my family who has it. It came completely out of the blue. I used to drink a lot as a child and I was constantly going to the toilet so my mum took me to the doctors for a check up. That's when I was diagnosed.

As we celebrate the 90th anniversary of when the first person with diabetes was successfully treated with insulin, I thank everyone who was involved then and everyone who has worked so hard to make sure diabetics have been in good health since. Without them, I might not have been where I am today."

Words by Amelia Lily

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