Shiara Pillay – Diabetes community helps keep you accountable

Shiara Pillay tells us how her diabetes community, formed at DSA youth camps, has helped her be accountable for managing her diabetes.

Shiara Pillay (25) lives in Muizenberg, Cape Town. She has Type 1 diabetes.

About Shiara

Shiara has attended the Diabetes South Africa youth camps for many years. First as a child and then as a teenager and young adult. She progressed from being a camp attendee to becoming a camp leader.  Presently, she is a dedicated member of the YT1 team that helps to organise and manage the Diabetes SA YT1 Children’s and Youth Outreach.

She is currently working in the social development and capacity building industry, and studying towards completing her Honours in Development Studies.

Consistent focus and attention

Life with Type 1 diabetes seems like the most normal thing in my life right now. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic! It hasn’t always been that way though. It has required consistent focus and attention since I was diagnosed 15 years ago.

The last decade and a half has seen me experience things not a lot of other people I know have. I have advocated for diabetes awareness in school and social environments. Experienced an unexpected DKA admission to hospital. Held the space for countless conversations with friends and family about diabetes management support. All the while I am studying and pursuing a career path.

Community holds you accountable

One of my favourite triumphs of this journey is being a part of the gathering of young diabetic children at the DSA educational camps. Experiencing the connection between the diabetes community (young, old, family and friends) through shared and individual struggles and triumphs is so rewarding.

Being able to accept, grow and take control of the role that diabetes plays in my life is an ongoing commitment that this community has helped me stick to.

I work constantly to maintain my glucose levels through diet, exercise and regular testing. Supplemented by as much information as possible and a healthy balance of finding pleasure in all these things.

Shiara in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Shiara in Visakhapatnam, India.
Shiara Pillay
Shiara with her group of campers dressed for their Saturday camp concert evening at Diabetes SA April 2017 Diabetes Childrens Camp in Kommetjie, Cape Town.