Shawn Shepheard

My life changed forever on Christmas Day 1997, the day I was diagnosed with type one, insulin dependent diabetes

Shawn Shepheard is a proud advocate for living well with diabetes, and is living his dream life. He is an internationally renowned inspirational speaker, author of Life is Sweet – Surviving Diabetes and a Whole Lot of Other Crazy Stuff, and is the host of the Sugar Free Shawn Show and The Diabetes Champions Network. Find out more about Shawn at

My life changed forever on Christmas Day 1997. It was the day I was diagnosed with type one, insulin dependent diabetes.

I will never forget the doctor telling me about needing to go on insulin injections immediately, and the need to test my blood glucose many times a day — not to mention the long list of potential complications. Not a very merry Christmas!

On the advice of my doctor, I attended a three-day diabetes education clinic at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. As we introduced ourselves to the group, a woman stood up and asked, “Why are we here? We will all go blind, lose our limbs and die.” I didn’t look up at her, but simply kept writing the phrase ‘not me, not me, not me’ on my pad of paper. She changed my lens of diabetes forever.

The information in this session was invaluable. I couldn’t believe how much was invested in diabetes research and innovation. From the discovery of insulin to my new continuous glucose monitoring system, treatment for diabetes has come a long way. I realized that this wasn’t a death sentence… it was a wake-up call to live a healthy life.

I walked out of that room and immediately thought: “How lucky am I? I get to leave this hospital and go home. I have great support and I have access to innovative medicine that can treat my diabetes. Some people never get these opportunities.”

My journey of living well with diabetes began then. And to think it all started with that first visit to a diabetes education centre. I am proud to be living my dream life. And yes, with diabetes.

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