Published on 30 October 2023

We talked to Katie Lamb about her digital art workshop at DRWF’s 25th anniversary educational event.

Katie Lamb is an artist and advocate for children and young people with diabetes, who creates artwork to inspire others living with diabetes.

At the recent DRWF United Through Diabetes event at Chesford Grange, in Warwickshire, Katie was involved in two presentations.

Katie led a session on Creating digital diabetes art and other fun activities, and also spoke about Living well with type 1 diabetes for all the family in another seminar.

Katie said: “The session I led was all about digital art and posting all about your diabetes through art.”

Katie, now aged 20, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before her second birthday, said: “I can't really remember anything other than living with type 1 diabetes.”

Katie, who regularly shares examples of her work on social media, said: “I like to share my art on those platforms to really be part of the online community.”

DRWF spoke to Katie at the event about using a closed loop system to self-manage the condition.

Katie said: “Since January this year, I have been very fortunate to have my closed loop system, which has made a huge difference to the number of decisions I have to make around diabetes, to the sleep I can have with diabetes. I am really grateful to be able to have that tech.

“You still have to do some work. You have to tell the system how many carbs you are eating. And as with everything in technology, it does not always work. There are always things that the human still has to be doing. So it is not what some people call it, an artificial pancreas. There's still work to do, but it is a good step in the right direction.”

DRWF: When you're talking to families and young people, what sort of messages are you getting across and what are some of the barriers? As you previously said, you said did not want to have an insulin pump for a while?

Katie: “I think knowing that these things are scary, they are big decisions to make. It is expected you will be nervous about these kinds of things. And it is okay to feel apprehensive.

“I talk a lot about not striving for perfection, because perfection is really hard to reach in diabetes. What works for you needs to be the most important thing. So, just because everyone is using a pump that you see, that does not mean that that is necessarily right for you. It is all about making those decisions based on what works for you.”

DRWF: How does attending United Through Diabetes offer access to information about diabetes technology?

Katie: “It is really helpful. I really enjoy speaking to other people, hearing about lots of different experiences and being able to think about all of these different ideas from lots of different people and being able to hear from the experts as well.

“I think it is good to have both lived experience and from the people who really know what they are talking about when they have been putting these things together and doing the research. So, this is really great.

“It's an incredible programme and there is a huge range of different topics being covered.”

DRWF: Why is peer support so good?

Katie: “Diabetes can be so isolating when you do not know who else is going through it. It is really easy to feel really very alone. Being able to share those stories, to come together and just know that you are you are not alone – and there are lots of people who feel the same way about so many things. I think it is a great way to learn from each other.

“I had lived with type 1 diabetes for 18 years before I really found the online community and the amount that I was able to learn from other people was just incredible.”

Watch the video interview here

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