Black History Month Presentation for the Welsh National Assembly

Yesterday evening I attended a fantastic event held in partnership by the Welsh Assembly Government and its Minority Ethnic Staff Network, to celebrate 'Black History Month', which is going on throughout the month of October. The organisations had kindly asked me along to speak about my life and how I've overcome adversity in order to achieve.

Before the event took place I took some time to consider and write my presentation, making sure it would be right for the occasion. But what really surprised me was how emotional it made me feel, looking back over the last 13 years of having diabetes and the trials and tribulations that have come with it. There was one constant however whom I feel played an integral role in helping me manage and to cope with my diabetes, not letting it get in the way of my sport or achieving the other things that I've set out to do in life. And for me that's been my Mum, she was there at the event with me yesterday, the same as she's been at every hospital appointment, athletics meeting and presentation since diagnosis; encouraging me and supporting me in overcoming adversity to achieve.

Welsh Government Name Badge

The event took place in Butetown Youth Pavillion in Butetown in Cardiff Bay, which has an incredible melting pot of people from different ethnicities and nationalities. So it was the perfect venue to hold the event Black History Month event. The evening was opened with a poetry reading by Khalid Afzal, followed by an introduction to what the event was about. Then as the first guest speaker, I took the stage to tell the story of my diabetes journey- from being diagnosed with diabetes aged 13, discovering sport at 16, becoming insulin resistant aged 20 and overcoming this difficulty whilst finding volunteering that led to carrying the Olympic torch. I've been fortunate to have enjoyed all of the presentations I've done over the years. This one was a first for me however, as I can't recall speaking to that many people without diabetes before. But it was a great chance to help me consider the best ways to communicate what the condition is, how I manage it and also how best to raise awareness whilst telling my story to a new audience.

Delivering my Black History Month presentation

After I finished my speech we had a break-out session aside for networking and I was overwhelmed by the kindness of the audience and their positive feedback of the presentation/ overcoming being diagnosed with diabetes. What was wonderful as well was that I was reminded once again of the way that diabetes touches people's lives, including those who aren't specifically diagnosed with it themselves. By this I mean that after I finished speaking, I was approached by a lovely lady who told me about her husband's diagnosis and life with diabetes. I got on well with the lady and she commented on how infrequently you hear about a positive story regarding diabetes. But mentioned that her husband, who sounded like a great role model, worked tirelessly to give a positive perspective of the disease. I also spoke to a different lady who had recently been diagnosed with MODY- maturity onset diabetes of the young and was just coming to terms with the big life change. After the break-out the First Minister of the National Assembly Government- Carwyn Jones opened the second half of the event with a great speech on Wales and the integral part ethnic communities play within the rich tapestry of the nation. The event closed with a fantastic spread of asian fusion food and many comments about what a wonderful event it had been for Black History month 2014!

First Minister for Wales - Carwyn Jones


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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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