Sylvia Mare

Hunter Region

We were living in a small country town when I was diagnosed at nine years old. I fell extremely ill and the doctor told me that I had just ‘come down with something’, but I could hardly get off the couch, could hardly speak because my mouth was so dry and within a week I had lost 10kg. The same doctor took one look at me and told me to go to the local hospital to get my BSL tested. My BSL came back at 50, and the nurses were shocked I hadn’t gone into a coma.

My mum drove to Tamworth Hospital to be treated as our town’s hospital didn’t have the services to assist – but it was an hour away. I can still remember dozing off in the car (more than likely going into a coma) and mum kept saying “Sylvia, stay awake! Don’t fall asleep!” trying to keep me alert while driving. I spent a week in the hospital and was taught by the nurses how to do my needles.

I have always been a fitness enthusiast and have led an active lifestyle. I competed in my first fitness competition in September 2014 which required over three months of strict dieting, training and 110% dedication. This preparation was sometimes a challenge with my type 1 diabetes, mainly due to the risk of hypos. I didn’t place, but I was honoured to receive the Luke Wood achievement award in recognition of competing with type 1 diabetes. I will be competing again with NABBA/WFF at the Sydney Grand Classic in the bikini division.

I believe that diabetes is a PART of your life, and not something that you should be ruled by. There are certainly challenges in having diabetes (and something you need to stay on top of), but those life goals can still be reached with a positive mindset and some careful planning.

I would like to be a positive role model to others in the community who have type 1 diabetes. I think that it’s important for the diabetes community to know there are people out there with diabetes, who are achieving things that were thought unachievable due to diabetes.