Diabetica Expo Poland Day 2 - Presentations and Awards

On my second day in Tourun it was time for me to deliver the presentation that I had been invited to give. Although many people spoke very good English, my host and fellow young leader in diabetes Martyna, kindly translated my presentation into Polish for me before hand, so that everyone could enjoy it. But of course a picture speaks a thousand words, so I made sure to include many images of my diabetes journey too.

After meeting so many lovely people at the banquet the night before and with them having been made feel so welcome since my arrival, I barely felt any nerves when stepping on stage for my presentation. There were about 250 pairs of eyes looking back at me, but I was just grateful for the opportunity to share all of the wonderful things happening for people with diabetes in the UK. However, I think it was probably my most challenging presentation to date, as I needed to ready my presentation in English and deliver my speech. At the same time as changing the slides in Polish and speaking clearly, informatively but also as concisely as possible so that Martyna could translate for me after each slide.

Diabetica Expo 2014 - Melanie Stephenson 'wykladowca' - (lecturer)
I did my best to tell the story of my diabetes journey so far, from diagnosis and onto an insulin pump and by including fun facts about where I had travelled from in Wales to be at the conference. I spoke about the fantastic care plan I received when I was diagnosed at 13, that allowed me to get back to high school as quickly as possible and that enabled me to pursue an active school life, despite having diabetes. I then progressed to speak about the diabetes organisations that I belong to and how they help people with diabetes in the UK, which led me onto my torch bearer’s nomination by Diabetes UK. When I showed the picture of me lighting the cauldron on the Olympic Torch stage back in 2012, the audience completely unexpectedly to me, started clapping. So before I could carry on speaking, I had to swallow the huge lump in my throat of emotion that had formed, at the kindness of the people listening to my presentation. I spoke about the Find Your Greatness Campaign that I did for Nike, setting up Blue Circle Diabetes Support group after returning from the IDF Europe camp. I also talked about the great work that young people are doing in the UK to help others with the condition through projects such as #YPP and #Type 1 Uncut. Inviting the audience to look in their own time at the videos that have been created for #Type 1 Uncut for people to enjoy. It was great to be asked some questions at the end of the presentation on the people that have made a difference in my ‘diabetes life’, and also what healthcare is like in the UK for people with diabetes.

My Bio from the Diabetica Expo 2014 Program
After my presentation was over I had the pleasure of being able to enjoy the great speeches being given by key members of the Polish diabetes community. It was amazing to witness the story of the first person in Poland to be given a single pancreas transplant (without kidney transplantation) and her doctor (more on this in another blog). Martyna and another IDF young leader who attended the Melbourne world congress- Wojciech, delivered a fascinating presentation on what’s going on in Poland at the moment and the many great campaigns happening, targeted at getting people with diabetes engaged and active in the community. The Polish Diabetes Expo is also a renowned platform amongst medical organisations because of its recognition through awards giving, for innovations in diabetes care and treatment. So it was my pleasure to join the Polish diabetes association's President Andrzej and the expo’s creator Henryk, in giving the awards to the winners. 

Me delivering my 'Diabetes Journey' presentation at the Diabetica Expo Poland

An amazing opportunity, the Diabetica Expo was a wonderful example of the diabetes community coming together to try and make things better for the good of others. Despite the language difference, there never proved to be a barrier between myself and the other delegates in communicating- as smiles, handshakes and friendship speak a language all of their own. I am very grateful to have attended the Expo and to have made new friends, if not for Martyna, pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk and the excellent organisers of the Diabetica Expo, my experience would not have been possible. So 'dziekuje' (thank you in Polish) and congratulations on such a great event. I know the future of diabetes is in very safe hands with its young leaders and wonderful delegates of the Polish diabetes community.


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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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