Talking T1D advocacy with QLD Advocate Alyssa Zaini

February 03, 2022

We caught up with Alyssa Parker, JDRF advocate for Hon Peter Dutton, Member for Dickson. Alyssa is 14 years old and was diagnosed at age 8. She shares with us her experience of being diagnosed at a young age, and also her JDRF advocacy highlights. Check out the rest of our conversation with Alyssa below!

Can you tell us about your T1D diagnosis?

I was 8 years old, and I remember my mum picking me up from school and taking me to the hospital. I was confused, I didn’t really know what was going on and people kept giving me needles. No one had told me what was going on and I didn’t understand why they were injecting me with insulin every time I ate until someone explained to me that I had T1D and that’s what I’d have to do for the rest of my life.

How do you feel T1D has impacted your life?

T1D has impacted life in many ways. It has impacted school life, sports, birthday parties, sleepovers and even just my daily routine. Constantly having to think about what level your BGL is at, not too high or low, remembering to dose every time you eat, having to always carry extra supplies around with you. Sometimes it can become hard to manage.

Why did you choose to become a JDRF advocate? 

I didn’t know what an advocate was when I started but my mum suggested it to me, so I decided to take the opportunity, and looking back at everything I’ve done since – I’m glad I did.

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

One highlight of being a JDRF advocate for me was going to Canberra for Kids in the House. I got to talk with my local MP, and I also met other members of Parliament. I was also able to meet lots of other people with T1D from across Australia and I made new friends.

What advice would you give to new JDRF advocates?

Just like when you are first diagnosed you may feel like the only one, but there’s so many advocates around Australia and you can meet so many other T1Ds doing JDRF advocacy, so just give it a go.