TAD Talks Event 2019 - #I'veGotType1&StillHaveFun


This year I had the absolute pleasure of attending TAD Talks 2019 Event (Talking About Diabetes Conference) which was held in London at the Royal College of Surgeons. I was a speaker when the event was in its 2nd year, so it was excellent to be in the audience to enjoy the 4th year. For those who haven’t had the opportunity of attending yet (I would recommend it), the event involves people with diabetes coming together to listen to a range of different speakers, sharing their own perspectives on life and adventures with the condition. The fact that the event sold out in a matter of minutes is testament to how excellent the previous years have been and in my opinion the value in creating a space for people with type 1 diabetes to share their experiences. And it wasn't just the adults that had the opportunity to get together at the event, there was also a parallel event for children (TAD poles) who learned to beat box! Hence why my favourite line from their rap that they performed at the end of the event is in the title of my blog.


TAD was also an excellent chance to catch up with diabuddies


The day began with the first speaker Amy, who spoke about her recovery journey from having an eating disorder with type 1 diabetes. This was an incredibly brave and insightful talk, which highlighted how far we need to improve with care provision of diabetes and eating disorders, because, as Amy highlighted they don’t exist in isolation from each other, which therefore requires a more holistic approach to helping people on their recovery journey. Following Amy was T1 journalist Laura Turner, who talked about probably being the first person with a Libre on the red carpet of the Oscars and also wearing it with pride in her Oscars outfit.

The TAD Talks 2019 Speakers


Next up we had professional boxer Muhammad Ali, who gave a sensational talk on his experience of living with type 1 diabetes and pursuing his dream career as a boxer. This talk really resonated with me, not just because I’m an athlete, but because I remember the exact moment in clinic nearly 18 years ago when I was told about the careers that people with type 1 diabetes weren’t allowed to pursue and boxing was one of them. So to actually meet and hear speak, the first person with T1D to be granted a professional boxing license in the UK, over a decade later, it honestly brought a tear to my eye. Muhammad also shared how the journey towards getting his license wasn’t an easy or straight forward one, he had to battle for it and spent a number of years just training, in the hope that one day his license would be granted and his hard work, grit and determination paid off when it was eventually granted and he started boxing professionally. Following on from Mohammad was professional cyclist Sam Brand, who gave a great account of life on the bike with Team Novo Nordisk, the pro team made up of all people with type 1 diabetes. 





BAFTA-nominated actor James Norton then opened up the talks after lunch, which was a brilliant chance to catch up with diabuddies and make some new ones over food. Despite having the condition nearly 18 years, it never fails to surprise me how easy it is to strike up a conversation in this community and for time to fly by whilst talking about life with type 1. James’ talk took a slightly different format in the style of a conversation with Dr Partha Kar, one of the excellent organisers of the day’s event. James was incredibly honest and generous in his account of being an actor and balancing his BG levels like the rest of us. With many interesting and hilarious accounts of juggling the intensity of serious roles (I'm a big fan of War and Peace that he did) with his diabetes. It was also kind of him to share the fact that both his Mum and his sister have type 1 diabetes too and have supported each other along their diabetes journeys.

Last but by no means least of the line up for the day was the incredibly talented Jade Byrne- Writer, director and performer of her brilliant one woman show Pricks. Now, I don't want to give too much away because Jade is currently touring the UK with her show and it so worth seeing that I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. But the premise of the performance is that Jade tells the story of her own diabetes diagnosis and journey (and in some ways the stories of others), cleverly through the number of finger pricks she has done since getting T1D. I found pricks to be moving, smart, funny, emotional- I laughed and I cried in equal measure and quite honestly have never seen anything like it. Although the official TAD event had finished, many people that had travelled from all over the country and who were also local to London met afterwards to have some more type 1 time together and few people could stop talking about what a sensational day it had been, myself included.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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