Talking T1D advocacy with 10-year-old Dougal McGregor

September 17, 2021

Every month, we’ll be putting a spotlight one of our incredible advocates who give voice to the lived experience of type 1 diabetes (T1D) and help politicians better understand the needs of the T1D community. Recently, we had a little chat with Dougal McGregor. Dougal is a 10-year old JDRF advocate from Shepparton, Victoria who has been advocating for type 1 diabetes since 2017 when he was just 6 years old. Read on to find out why he became a JDRF advocate and how T1D has impacted his life.

1. Can you tell us a bit about your T1D diagnosis?

I was diagnosed when I was 4, and it sucked! When I got to the hospital they put the biggest needle I have ever seen into my arm. It was painful. I’d had sore legs for a while, I’d been to the doctor and the chiropractor to help. I had X-rays. I started weeing lots and drinking lots of water so Mum made the GP do a fingerprick test. I think it was 27…

2. How do you feel T1D has impacted your life?

It can be annoying, particularly at school because I sometimes miss out on things – especially things I’m looking forward to. 

I’ve met a lot of awesome people and done some awesome things which I probably wouldn’t have got to do if I didn’t have T1 Diabetes though.

3. Why did you choose to become a JDRF advocate?

Because I like to speak the voice of lots of kids with T1 Diabetes. I think my family make up a good team to advocate and share our journey. Hopefully our experience can help to get better outcomes for more people living with T1 Diabetes.

4. If you had to pick one highlight as a JDRF advocate, what would it be?

Going to Canberra with the Kids in the House in 2018. It was great to meet others like me and it was my first time on an aeroplane. Meeting our local member of parliament, Damian Drum MP has been fun. His 2 dogs enjoy to come to the One Walk when it is on in Shepparton.

The biggest disappointment was not getting lunch with Malcolm Turnbull MP (PM at the time).

5. What advice would you give to new JDRF advocates?

Don’t take my place! Have fun with your role. Try your best to answer as many questions as you can and be honest. But if you are unsure Mel is always there to help you out. I like to think of the other people that I’m possibly helping by sharing my experience.

6. What do you hope our advocacy efforts will be able to deliver in the future?

I hope that all of our asks are possible. I’d like to hope that one day technology can be accessed by all that choose to use it. Technology has helped me a lot and it makes me sad that not everyone can afford to access what I can. My pump and CGM has changed my life.