Rachel Portelli

Diagnosed at the age of three and a half years old, Rachel knows nothing more than a life with diabetes. At the time of her diagnosis, there was no awareness about type 1 diabetes. Her parents did not even know that children can be diagnosed with diabetes.With all the obstacles faced, they where determined to give Rachel the best normal life that they could, which they did. However, as a young girl diabetes was rarely her best friend. She saw diabetes as a burden and it was exhausting for her in dealing with everyday teenage life and diabetes.Living with the chronic illness and fitting in was not an easy task. After years of struggle and battles, she finally accepted her condition and realised that she is a person before anything else. She had goals and dreams just like any other person had and she was determined to do something about them. 

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Diabetes has grown up with her and although they had their fights, it was a main contributor to shaping the woman that she is today. After being diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, she had a choice to make. She could either give up and live the rest of her life locked inside this prison or stand up and make a difference to others who might be going through the same thing. By choosing the latter, Rachel became involved with the Maltese Diabetes Association, had the opportunity to do a six month internship at the International Diabetes Federation Europe in Brussels and got chosen for two amazing programmes - The Queen's Young Leaders Programme and the International Diabetes Federation Young Leader in Diabetes Programme. She wanted to continue raising awareness and supporting others living with T1D. And that is where S1A started!

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