It’s day one of the Australasian Diabetes Congress (#19ADC) which is being held in beautifully sunny and shiny Sydney over the rest of this week. Once again Diabetes Australia has brought together a team of diabetes advocates and bloggers to provide real time, on the ground updates from the Congress, which is a brilliant way for people with diabetes not here to keep updated on the sessions, latest research and new tech that is on display.

I have spent a lot of my advocacy life talking about the value of having people with diabetes at this sorts of healthcare professional events. I’ve defended our right to be here until I have turned blue in the face. I have said the words ‘Nothing about us without us’ so frequently that people have asked me if I coined the phrase (of course I didn’t – others have been saying this for years longer than I have). I have challenged people who have said that this conferences are a safe place for HCPs to talk amongst each other without concern that PWD might misinterpret what they are saying. We belong here – it is as much a place for those of us living with diabetes as it is for those working in diabetes.

Yesterday I was involved in two events – I gave a talk with Grumps at the Roche Educators Day (#RED2019), and then we co-facilitated the Ascensia Social Media Summit (#OzDSMS) – and there was a lot of talk about the importance of people with diabetes at events like this. I’ll be writing about both these sessions later on, but for now, I want to share a comment that came out of the Ascensia event when we were talking about what advocacy means and why we need to be present in all diabetes discussions. Kim Henshaw spoke about the importance of PWD being advocates and I think this just nails it.

The lived experience is critical for people to understand what diabetes is all about. It was so refreshing to hear Diabetes Australia CEO, Greg Johnson, say I’m a real believer in the power of the person with diabetes telling their story. It’s not just about organisations doing it, it’s about individuals doing it in all sorts of ways.’ 

This is why it makes sense to have us at these conferences. Our insights, ideas, thoughts and knowledge and expertise is valuable. That’s why we’re here.


My flights to attend ADC were covered by Roche Diabetes Care Australia. Thanks to the Australian Diabetes Society and the Australian Diabetes Educators Association for providing me (and the other #DAPeoplesVoices) with a complimentary press pass. My accommodation and all other costs have been covered by Diabetes Australia (which is where I work). My words here and in all my tweets and other social media activity are mine and mine alone. I’m trying really hard to not be sweary and these efforts should be rewarded with chocolate.