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Talking all things type 1 diabetes with Will Goyder

July 06, 2022

Will Goyder was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when he was 8 years old. Throughout his many years living with T1D, he hasn’t let this condition hold him back from doing the things he loves such as playing AFL, swimming competitively, socialising with friends and taking on new challenges.

We recently caught up with Will to chat about his journey with T1D, how he manages his condition while participating in physically intense sports, and what his hopes are for the T1D community in the future.

How long have you been living with T1D and how have you been managing your condition throughout the years?

I have now been living with type 1 for about 15 and a half years. I was diagnosed all the way back in 2006 when I was only 8 years old. As many others living with type 1 can attest, this was a very scary time for me. I didn’t have much of an understanding of what type 1 diabetes was, let alone how one goes about living with it.

With the incredible support of my family, friends, and the health professionals, I decided I wouldn’t let living with type 1 diabetes change how I wanted to live my life. This meant actively exploring the best ways to manage the disease.

I initially started out on two injections a day, mixing together both long and short acting insulins. At the earliest possible opportunity, I switched over to an insulin pump. This was a game changer for me – as a growing child I was always needing to eat, and the pump afforded me the flexibility to do this. I upgraded to new models of the pump every few years, and in 2010 began using continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) as well.

In fact, in 2011, I was the first human in the world to trial the closed-loop insulin pump technology which is now widely available on a number of different pumps, and has made living with type 1 substantially easier for many. In 2020 I made the switch to the Omnipod® System and Dexcom g6 sensor. This has been my best type 1 related decision to date. The Omnipod® System perfectly complements my active lifestyle, especially when it comes to swimming.

What are some things you love doing and how do you make them possible while living with T1D?

I am someone who has always enjoyed giving everything a go! I absolutely love sports, both participating and watching. During Summer I enjoy swimming, and for the last four years have participated in the Rottnest Channel Swim, a 19.7km open water swim from Cottesloe Beach in Perth to Rottnest Island.

In winter I play football (AFL) for my local club, and passionately support the Fremantle Dockers. I also love socialising with friends and going out dancing on the weekend. I make these activities possible by ensuring I am diligent in the management of my blood sugar levels, which comes down to maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as utilising technology which best complements my lifestyle.

For me, this involves using a continuous glucose monitor and the Omnipod® System. The ability to always be connected to an insulin source no matter the activity has been a major benefit of using the Pod. It has worked particularly well on the sports front, as it means I am not having to disconnect/reconnect my pump every time I’m in the water or on the footy field.  

What is a piece of advice you have for the T1D community?

My advice would be to never let T1D get in the way of your goals and aspirations. It can be very easy to use type 1 as a reason not to give certain activities a go, or take on certain challenges.

One of my favourite things to do is to challenge myself to take on new activities, to prove that type 1 doesn’t have to be an inhibitor. Completing the Rottnest Swim in a duo is a great example for this. Despite knowing the stress swimming puts my body under from a blood sugar management perspective, I was determined to prove that it could be done. Sure enough, with plenty of preparation and a bit of trial and error, we pulled it off. 

What is your hope for the future of T1D?

My biggest hope for the future of T1D is that the best technology to manage type 1 diabetes can be widely accessible. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to use the Omnipod® and a CGM, but I am well aware that not everyone has the means to enjoy the same access to these technologies.

Management of type 1 diabetes, a condition we have no control over getting, should not be dictated by your finances. It was fantastic to see that at the last federal election both major parties made a commitment to subsidising CGMs and Flash GMs for all Australians living with type 1, and that the Albanese Government has put this commitment into action. My hope is that in the future, other type 1 devices such as the Omnipod® System follow CMGs can also become universally accessible.

We loved learning about Will’s story and hope you did too.

If you are interested in learning more about the Omnipod® click here!