Fijian Woman Considers Her Diabetes Diagnosis a Blessing

Fijian Woman Considers Her Diabetes Diagnosis a Blessing

Public Issue

Shivanjani was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 18.

Type 1 Diabetes is a disorder that occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin. There is currently no cure, but the disease can be managed with insulin injections several times a day or with the use of an insulin pump. Diet, exercise and careful blood sugar monitoring play a vital roll in management of the disease.

Left untreated, Type 1 Diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, foot ulcers which can lead to amputation and blindness.

Being a student at the time of her diagnosis, Shivanjani's finances were limited, and the diagnosis became an immediate hardship.

In Fiji, insulin is provided to everyone free of charge by the government, but needed diabetic supplies such as blood sugar monitors, strips, syringes and needles are provided only until age 14. Beyond that age, a diabetic becomes responsible for their own supplies.

  
                    

Shivanjani has established Young DiabetesFiji--a youth based movement to assist underprivileged kids living with Type 1 Diabetes. LDS Charities (the welfare arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) has been the major donor of blood sugar monitors and testing strips which came as a great benefit and financial relief for the under-privileged kids living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Shevanjani believes that her diagnosis has been a blessing in her life as it has awakened her to the many challenges of those around her.

Working with DiabetesFiji and the Ministry of Health, she has championed peer groups and camps for diabetic children. These camps help young people come to understand that diabetes does not mean disability. It is a condition that can be managed with discipline and support from family members and peers.

Shivanjani is also striving to educate the public and says, " I want to tear down the walls of misconception that many use to discriminate against Type 1 Diabetics."

Shivanjani, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is now employed, married and the mother of a little boy. Her positive attitude is infectious and her desire to help others serves as an inspiration and example to all who know her.

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