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Emily Gillbanks

Faces of Suffolk

Emily Gillbanks

I have type 1 diabetes. Sometimes you have good days and sometimes you have bad days. When I get stressed out, it can really affect it. So starting university, coming to a new place and making new friends was quite a stressful time, but it was important to me that I was open about it. I discussed my diabetes with new people and quite often they would say ‘I know someone with diabetes too’. It makes you realise you’re not the only one.

I feel like there’s not enough awareness about diabetes – type 1 and 2 get muddled up quite a lot. I think it helps to talk because just by discussing it, others become more aware about what it is. It’s just about getting it out there.

I’m studying Fine Art - I’ve always loved art, ever since I can remember. At Sixth Form, I was Head Girl and studied Art and Textiles; I knew it was the career path for me after having my paintings exhibited for the first time. I’ve always been creative, I remember I used to be told off for drawing on my science homework!

I’d love to be an artist or specialise in forensic composite art, or possibly become an art teacher. I would say don’t let your diabetes get in the way and do exactly what you want to do. Make sure you’re doing something you’ll enjoy because that’s when you’ll get the best results. I feel I’m living proof that if you put your mind to something, push yourself and dedicate time, you will be sure to fulfil your true potential.

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