A Langford woman with more than one million followers online will be speaking at a virtual conference hosted by Diabetes Canada.
Mary Comeau was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nine and soon had to adjust to a consistent schedule of monitoring her glucose levels and ensuring she had enough insulin at all times.
Two years ago, she started seeking out others with the same disease but found that many didn’t speak about their everyday lives.
“I found that a lot of people say you need to take care of your blood sugars constantly, or your kidneys could fail, or you could go blind, or all the scary things that could happen, and I felt like I heard that way too much so I wanted to bring a positive side online,” said Comeau.
“I obviously have my low sides, if my blood sugar has been high all day, I’m going to be tired and drain out. I get burnt out if my blood sugars are out of range, but I just try to take it every day at a time,” said Comeau.
Soon, she gained the attention of Diabetes Canada.
“[She] really talks about showing your devices, so it was just sort of perfect kind of marriage for the two of us and the messaging that she’s trying to get across,” said Lindsay Wig, director of community events and fundraising at Diabetes Canada.
Comeau says one of the big stigmas around diabetes is the devices that need to be worn to measure and maintain sugar levels. Diabetes Canada launched a campaign this year aimed at getting more Canadians to learn about the everyday realities of the disease.
On Nov. 18, the organization will host a virtual conference, which Comeau will speak at.
“It makes it difficult for people to sometimes speak about their diagnosis and their journey and everything else…people don’t have a full understanding of diabetes, and that sort of ties into this diabetes awareness month campaign,” said Wig.
Comeau wants to fight the stigma further by getting more people comfortable living with it. She is starting a business soon where she’ll sell stickers that’ll cover the devices.
“I’m not scared to wear them out every day, but people are scared and pointing at them thinking they’re a tracking device or something when it’s just a diabetes device,” said Comeau.