Melbournians with a type 1 diabetes connection turned out in their droves to enjoy the state’s very first Type One Summit event on Sunday 11 November. Type One Summit is an event with something for everyone, no matter what age or stage of their type 1 diabetes (T1D) journey. Despite a busy Spring Carnival week coming to a close in Melbourne, the room was buzzing as the crowds arrived, ready for a day of research progress, expert insights and making new connections.

Mike Wilson, JDRF Australia CEO and Managing Director opened proceedings, with a stirring speech setting the scene for the day. Mike introduced a special guest speaker, Dr Aaron Kowalski, JDRF International’s Chief of Mission. Aaron is a scientist, T1D expert, and lives with the disease himself. He couldn’t join us in person, but spoke via video from New York. Dr Kowalski said that he’s never been more optimistic about the progress JDRF is making on every front, and he emphasized the pivotal role Australian research plays in this.

Keynote speaker, Rebecca Davies AO, JDRF Board Member and mum to a daughter with T1D, then took to the stage. Rebecca is a long-time JDRF supporter and shared her personal story of the day Emily was diagnosed as a toddler. Rebecca’s account of a relatively normal day escalating to one of horror, with Emily admitted to intensive care, is one that resonated with many in the room.

The morning’s session concluded with Professor Tom Kay facilitating an Q&A panel discussion on clinical trials. Professor Kay spoke to the fact that research progress can only happen if people participate in clinical research, then fielded questions from the audience. The expert panel helped demystified clinical trial and what participation involves. The audience even got to meet little ENDIA trial participants Audra and Eden. They are eligible to participate in this important world-first prevention study because their dad Shannon has T1D. As a result of this session, the JDRF booth had many T1D Game Changer sign ups afterwards, for people who are keen to hear more about opportunities to get involved in new T1D clinical trials.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of action underway in the kids’ and teens’ activity programs.  More than 30 kids under 12 learnt about science, did some art, tried their hand at yoga and whipped up a healthy bruschetta with the Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food team.

Their teenage counterparts, some who came reluctantly at first, listening to three remarkable young adult guest speakers, Justin, Tanya and Ellie tell their stories. They then made some ‘cracking’ burgers with Jamie Oliver Ministry of Food, and enjoyed an interactive quiz, forging friendships along the way.

Back to the adults, who were busy attending informative and engaging breakout sessions delivered by 12 expert speakers and moderators considered experts in their field. The sessions covered very topical content on psychosocial burden of T1D, and nutrition and exercise.

During breaks in the proceeding, guests wandered the 11 information stations, manned by industry partners including presenting sponsor Abbott, five clinical trial teams, Diabetes Australia and the Aussie Loopers. These teams did not stop speaking and connecting with the community all day!

What a fantastic opportunity to engage with the T1D community to inform, educate and support. We hope our guests enjoyed the Type One Summit as much as we did, and took home some insights to use in everyday life.

If you couldn’t attend and would like to catch some of the information shared at Summit, check out our Facebook stream of the morning’s keynote and clinical trials panel session. Plus, stay tuned to our social media for more content we can share with you soon.


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