Apparently, public speaking tops the list of things people are afraid of – some studies say people are more afraid of public speaking than death, or spiders.
Not me! I love public speaking. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of connecting to people through telling stories and sharing experiences. That’s why I’ve created these talks that speak to the things I’m most passionate about.
Here’s a taste of my diabetes talk, and a brief overview of what my talks are about.
10 years ago, I didn’t know what diabetes was. Now I inject myself with insulin 5 times a day and watch everything I eat. But living with diabetes has – strangely enough – improved my life. A practical look at what diabetes is, living with Type 1 diabetes, and the surprising gifts a chronic condition can give if you accept it. All lessons we can apply in our lives, with or without chronic illness.
Bridging the gap between healthcare and storytelling
Traditionally, healthcare has not been a particularly creative space. Particularly when it comes to chronic conditions like diabetes, particularly in South Africa where the healthcare system is chronically underfunded. But it’s exactly in these spaces where storytelling and creativity are most necessary: using the power of words and visuals to make concepts come alive for those who need it most.
1 in 2 people with diabetes in South Africa is undiagnosed. The condition is killing more people than HIV, TB and malaria combined – and yet Type 2 diabetes is a completely preventable and manageable disease that has no reason to kill anyone if properly managed. When Bridget McNulty, Type 1 diabetic and co-founder of Sweet Life Diabetes Community, heard these stats from the International Diabetes Federation, she knew that she had to do something. As a published author, writer and content strategist, the tools available to her were words, storytelling, and painting a compelling vision of a possible future.
And so the Diabetes Alliance was formed: a coalition of all the diabetes organisations, associations and companies working with diabetes in South Africa, who have been working in silos up till now. Engaging directly with the National Department of Health, the Diabetes Alliance’s first project is a nationwide screening campaign in November, utilising behavioural science and the power of storytelling to make diabetes front page news, and getting screened for diabetes a social norm. Thereafter they will work on the diabetes educational materials available in all the public clinics around South Africa: finding the right language and design to connect with people who speak any of the 11 official languages in South Africa.
Traditionally, healthcare has not been a particularly creative space. But when faced with healthcare problems of this magnitude, creativity is the only possible solution.