For as long as she can remember, Emily Vuong has been living with type 1 diabetes.
Her earliest memories stem back to when she was a toddler and her mum and dad would do her insulin injections – so it’s no surprise that managing her diabetes has become second nature.
“I was diagnosed when I was 14 months old,” she says.
“I remember I would have needles, my parents used to do the injections. But it just felt normal, my parents were really good at distracting me, one would rattle a toy and the other one would do the jab. But I’ve never known any different.”
It wasn’t until Emily was in high school that she began administering her own insulin and took full control of her diabetes management.
“My parents always included me in carb counting, giving my insulin, so I knew how to do it but they did it when they could so I didn’t have to. So when it came the time to do it myself, I could easily do it,” she says.
“I’ve had 22 years of practice and over the past few years I’ve really tried to involve myself in as much diabetes stuff as I can so I can learn. Because you can’t know everything about diabetes straight away, it takes years, so I’ve tried to learn as much as I can.”
But living with diabetes has certainly had its challenges. “As a teenager, I found it hard to feel like I was different to everyone else,” she says. “I didn’t like giving my insulin at school, then when I got further into teenager-hood, because I had to be so aware of what I was eating, I had some disordered food patterns so that was quite hard.
“Then just the concern about the future and if you’re going to be able to have kids and all that kind of scary stuff.”
In recent years, Emily has taken to sharing her trials and tribulations on social media in the hope of painting a picture of what life is like living with diabetes.
Now with more than 4,700 Instagram followers and counting, Emily – who goes by the handle @emilysdiabetes – uses the platform to help spread more awareness of the condition.
Three years ago, she decided to take this a step further and sign up for her first run, where she raised funds for diabetes research.
Since then, she has competed in various fun run events, including the New York City Marathon in November last year. “I’ve never really been much of a runner until the past couple of years – I simply didn’t think I was capable of it,” she says.
This year, she has stepped in as Diabetes WA’s Ambassador for HBF Run For a Reason, which takes place on Sunday, May 24.
While the 12km HBF run route is a significant step back from the 42.2km she clocked up through the streets of New York City, Emily is looking forward to raising more awareness of diabetes.
“I’m really excited to be an ambassador for Diabetes WA at this year’s HBF Run for A Reason because I want to show people that diabetes shouldn’t hold you back from anything,” she says.
“I have become a runner despite all the challenges type 1 has thrown at me and I’m proud to show others that it’s possible for them, too.”
Emily will be leading the Diabetes WA team on Sunday May 24 at the HBF Run for a Reason as our Ambassador.
For more information about getting involved in the 2020 HBF Run for a Reason visit our website.