It was a very difficult time for us. We were just coping with the grief of losing my father. The news that I had type 1 diabetes shattered my family. My mother was shocked. We knew so little about the disease that we felt helpless at that point of time. Initially, hope seemed bleak but my mother is a very courageous person. She took charge, and from my doctor learnt everything about the disease and how I should manage it. She was determined to not have this disease hamper my life and wanted to ensure I led a normal life like any other child my age. My mother and doctor helped me accept, manage and control my diabetes. They showed me how to take medication, especially insulin, on time, supervised my diet and made me exercise regularly till it all became a normal routine.
In 2015, I took on the type 1 diabetes youth challenge, organized by Sanofi in partnership with SWEET and World Diabetes Tour, to trek the White mountains in Crete, Greece. I was a part of a 11-member team from Brazil, Canada and 8 European countries that successfully scaled the 2,080 metre-high Mt. Gingilos in Crete. It was truly a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience. Meeting and interacting with fellow diabetics from all over the world and learning about their individual experiences in managing diabetes was very inspirational. Together we trekked for over 8 hours each day. And we had to remember to take our insulin pumps, injections, drink water, etc. at the same time. It was a 4-day long arduous hike to the top, and the sun made the climb extremely difficult. There were moments when my legs refused to move and I was completely exhausted but the team support and motivation kept me going. I was proud of myself for completing the trek despite all these hurdles.
Prior to going on this trek, I was shy to tell the world I was a type 1 diabetes patient. This trek changed it all! I felt so positive that I wanted others to experience this too. What started as one trek led to a series of accomplishments that I am proud to boast of. In 2016, I completed a Mt. Abu trek with 20 type 1 diabetes patients. Then in 2017, I participated in the ‘OneUp’ trek organized by Sanofi, Diabetes India and Udaan and climbed Kalsubai - Maharashtra’s highest peak (1646 mt.), and sometime in 2018 I will be going for a trek to the Himalayas.
Initially, being a type 1 diabetes patient was a challenge for my family and me. Today, I hope my story inspires other youngsters that overcoming these challenges is a gradual but not impossible process.