Charity: Healthy Caribbean Coalition
Medical Condition: Type 1 Diabetes
Medical Therapy: Insulin Pump
When diabetes is stigmatized and hidden, it can be even more deadly. Krystal Boyea has devoted much of her young life to sharing how she has lived a healthy, full life with diabetes and encouraging others. From her first online campaign to talks at the United Nations and TEDx, Krystal has become the face of diabetes in Barbados and the Caribbean. She also co-founded a groundbreaking diabetes clinic in Barbados.
"I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10. It was the worst day of my life. Growing up with type 1 diabetes was never easy. As a child, I always felt different when taking multiple insulin injections every day, or testing my blood sugar, or having to pay close attention to my diet. Diabetes affected my personal life, and I struggled throughout school and in my hobbies. As a child, or even sometimes now, I would ask "why me?"
"For years I struggled to find myself. In 2010, 13 years after I was diagnosed, I got an insulin pump. It changed the way I viewed my life. It gave me confidence.
"Shortly after, I made a decision to start volunteering, to give all of my extra time to a cause that changed my life – diabetes. I was elected to represent Barbados at the first-ever, Young leaders in Diabetes Congress, held by the International Diabetes Federation. Inspired by that experience, I came home and founded the first youth chapter of the Diabetes Association of Barbados.
"As my passion for diabetes grew, I realized I wanted to turn it into my career. I completed my Masters of Public Health and co-founded a diabetes clinic that caters to the diabetes needs of my country. My ultimate goal is to be a voice of chronic diseases for the Caribbean people, and I have spoken internationally at the United Nations, at TEDx, the World Diabetes Congress and at NCD Child."
"Sharing your story can change a life."
"As a person living with diabetes, I understand the emotional burden it can bring. Eventually, the worst day of my life, my diagnosis, became the reason for my life. And while an insulin pump may not be a cure for diabetes, it has allowed me to live the best possible life with diabetes. For me, that means working tirelessly every day to change the lives of others."
Healthy Caribbean Coalition harnesses the power of civil society, in collaboration with government, private enterprise, academia, and international partners, to help prevent and manage chronic diseases among Caribbean people.