n November 1989 Jade Byrne
was diagnosed with Type 1
diabetes, when she was four
years old. She says, "My mum
noticed I was thirsty, tired, losing
weight, and going to the loo all the time. I'd
had a bad cold and been rather ill but my
mum thought, 'she needs testing for Type
I diabetes'. She took me to the doctors
and insisted they test me. Both my dad
and the doctor thought she was bonkers
but she'd recently read an article about
diabetes, so it clicked. Thank goodness
for pushy mums, I think fate intervened."
Byrne will be 'celebrating' her 30th
dia-versary this coming November but
she remembers the kit she was given all
that time ago. "When I was first diagnosed
I was given plastic syringes, the ones with
the orange lids, and put on Actrapid and
I think Humalog and had to mix them
together when I injected. I did have a
blood test meter too and was told to have
a specific amount of carbs per meal as
well as 10g snacks at 11am and 2pm."
Initially her parents did her injections
but she has another strong memory of
going away with the BDA (British Diabetes
Association) for a family weekend at age
five. "Most of the kids were older than
"I felt that the public
needed to know the
facts about what living
with diabetes is like.
OPPOSITE: Jade Byrne sporting her Dexcom CGM.
ABOVE: Byrne with the poster for her play, Pricks.
me," recalls Byrne, "I remember suddenly
deciding that I had to do my injections
by myself. I was full of attitude and told
my parents that was how it was going to
be! At about the age of 10 I changed to
insulin pens. I remember that being an
improvement. Much easier to use and the
pen even looked good."
It wasn't until the age of 16 that Byrne
went onto four injections a day, learning
how to carb count properly around the
age of 23, finally doing a DAFNE course
(Dose Adjustment For Normal Eating).
"I had been offered a pump in the past,
but I had not wanted to have something
attached to me all the time. However,