Jenni Dunn is a new trustee of the DiAthlete team, as we form into a charitable organisation. Her direct connection to this cause is in personally living with type 1 diabetes, from the perspective of being a mother, when 4 years ago in 2016 her son, Andrew, was diagnosed with the condition. For DiAthlete some of her responsibilities include the secretarial areas of communications and overseeing risk assessments – an area she is well equipped for, given her day to day job as risk manager for the Ministry of Defence. Last year at the MOD, Jenni received an award for founding the Defence Infrastructure Organisation Disability Network to provide support for colleagues with disabilities and those who care for a loved one with varying conditions. Here, we introduce Jenni to the Diathlete network as she openly shares of her reaction and experience as a ‘Type 1 Mum.’
“Andrews diagnosis was very sudden and very matter of fact. I just remember sitting on the hospital bed with him and seeing the world as we knew it form clouds and confusion – the room flaking away as though it was game over in a pixilated 90’s mega drive game. Seeing Andrew’s face change at that moment will be etched in my mind forever; dreams wiped from his little eyes in that moment and he was looking to me for answers. Answers I didn’t know. A diagnosis I didn’t understand. A way forward that I couldn’t see in that moment.
Diagnosis for T1D parents is like the end of one life and the birth of a new life, consisting of a whole range of emotions; upset, grief, anger, guilt but most importantly HOPE.
To fellow parents facing this experience: learning to accept Type 1 Diabetes will take years, there will be struggles and there will be days where you want to sit and cry about the life we once had; that’s normal and that’s OK! It’s also really important to keep talking and be as open as possible with our children as they will also be going through the same roller-coaster ride. Creating an environment where Type 1 Diabetes does not control us – WE control the diabetes – WE are a team and WE can create a positive outlook in preparing for our children to enter adulthood and guide them to independence. As parents we must embrace our new ‘normal’ and not see ‘disabilities’ but guide our children towards their abilities.
I am extremely honoured to be a Trustee of the Diathlete Charity. My role includes the ‘behind the scenes’ administration activities ensuring that the board of trustees has a framework in place to meet our goals. Our vision to Educate, Encourage and Empower reaches out not only to young adults with Type 1 Diabetes but also the Parent and Carer Network. As a fellow T1D parent I am passionate about parents receiving education and support by working with NHS / diabetes health team partnerships and local authorities providing a wider and relatable outreach.”