UAE: Teen with diabetes helps friends, classmates manage disease

Aliaa discovered she had diabetes at the age of 11



Supplied photo
Supplied photo
by

Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Thu 18 Nov 2021, 2:29 PM

When a 16-year-old Jordanian girl was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago, she was gripped by fear.

But now, Aliaa, a Grade 11 student at Hunain School Abu Dhabi, has not only learned how to live with the disease, she has become a young activist of sorts. Through handicrafts and drawings, Aliaa has been raising awareness about diabetes among her peers to help them manage the disease.

The Jordanian teenager discovered she had diabetes in 2016 when she was 11 through a home urine test.

Her mother was surprised by the high level of diabetes, which exceeded the normal level at a rate of 350. The family then contacted a paediatrician, who advised them to go to the emergency department, where the necessary tests were conducted.

Aliaa stayed under observation for a week at Khalifa Medical City until her condition stabilised.

“I was so scared when I was told I had diabetes. I had never imagined I could have get such an illness at a very small age,” she told Khaleej Times. “I was admitted at the hospital and all my family members were around me. My mum was so supportive and she could tell me words of encouragement all the time.”

Learning how to live with the diabetes disease has been a tough experience, Aliaa said, because it involves a lot of commitment and sacrifices.

“Living with diabetes especially when you are a child is difficult. It has been a process for me. It involved highs and lows,’ she said.

“Taking four insulin injections daily by myself was so hectic. I hated it. But I had to learn how to deal with it for the good of my health.”

The Jordanian teen said she has learned how to handle her blood sugar, checking her insulin level, being selective with the type of food she eats and living a healthier lifestyle.

“Now I feel it's normal living with the disease," she said. “This is why I have started giving awareness to my fellow students about how they can manage diabetes if they have been diagnosed with the illness and the importance of a healthier lifestyle for everyone even those without the disease so as they can protect themselves from such chronic illnesses.”

She noted that last week, her school organised a ‘Diabetes Day’, where she gave out insulin pens and glue-metres to pupils. She also taught them on how to use the medical equipment.

Aliaa’s mother, Hanah, who is a nurse in Abu Dhabi, played a key role in helping her manage diabetes. She said her daughter's diagnosis was a harsh experience for them as parents.

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“I was shocked when I was told for the first time that my daughter was diabetic. It was traumatising, but I had to put myself together to ensure that I support her and give her courage so she can learn how to live with the disease,” she said.

Hanah said it has been such a great suffering for the child to be given an insulin needle four to five times a day, follow her condition continuously, and monitor her food quality and quantity.

“I thank God that she has learned how to manage the disease on her own and can now support others suffering from the same illnesses through raising awareness about the diabetes illness," she said.


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