The Youth Leadership Lab is up and running, and our participants are sharing with us their empowering life stories and the challenges they have to face every day as people living with diabetes (PwD). We have asked Cameron, from Ireland, to share his experience so far. Read the interview of this amazing young diabetes activist here.
“Living with diabetes for over a decade has taught me a lot about myself and what’s important for a happy & healthy life. I am passionate about young people’s voices in diabetes care & advocacy.”
My name is Cameron Keighron, I’m 27 and I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 16 years old. I’m currently a PhD Student in the National University of Ireland, Galway, studying Parkinson’s Disease. I have been a Patient Advocate for several years, being a Young Adult Panel Member on the D1Now study which aims to improve healthcare outcomes for young adults with Type 1 Diabetes. Over the past number of months, I have had the wonderful experience of supporting the Youth Leadership Lab with the International Diabetes Federation Europe. My role this year is a new one: I have been tasked with supporting both the participants and the promoters by offering advice, asking guiding questions, facilitating some of the training sessions, sharing my advocacy experiences and just being a friendly face on the other side of the zoom call. This has allowed me to get to experience all elements of the leadership lab while also being able to curate a learning experience for others. By sharing my experiences and advocacy work, I hope to inspire other young people to know that they have a voice inside of them that is important to share with the world and valued by their peers around them. I have been able to see how the participants this year have grown in confidence, explore issues important to them and also make friends from around Europe. I believe that young voices in the next directions of Diabetes care & Research is vitally important. As a researcher myself, you don’t want to spend years designing and investigating a new therapeutic approach that ultimately doesn’t have the backing of the patients it is supposed to impact.
When I think of the impact young people can have, I am reminded of a quote from Margaret Mead “The young, free to act on their initiative, can lead their elders in the direction of the unknown”. Young people are the researchers, doctors, thinkers, advocates and activists of tomorrow and the power of their voice can only enrich the work we do, as well as take us on exciting journeys of what is possible!