U of M student raises diabetes awareness with new book

Rachel Stead holds a copy of her book 'Type 1der Woman' photo by Miguel Yetman

Rachel Stead holds a copy of her book ‘Type 1der Woman’ photo by Miguel Yetman

University of Manitoba fine arts student Rachel Shead has just published her book Type 1der Woman. The book expounds on Shead’s personal experiences as a person who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and how she coped with it.

“My book intentionally focuses on females simply because I feel the world could use more heroines […] and because of my personal experience,” Shead said.

Shead’s new book focuses on a type 1 diabetic heroine. She wanted to create a story that little girls could read and enjoy that was more inclusive. That being said, Type 1der Woman is a good read for anyone regardless of their gender.

“Sure, we have Wonder Woman and Supergirl but my [protagonist] is dealing with diabetes and this makes her a very personable character.”

Type 1 diabetes is currently an incurable condition in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to allow sugar to enter the cells to produce energy. Although type 1 diabetes appears during childhood and adolescence, it is also common for to emerge in in adults as well. With proper treatment, people are able to manage their diabetes and live longer and healthier lives.

“The irony is that the protagonist becomes her own superhero, thanks to her newfound bravery and strength from living with diabetes,” Shead said.

“She is meant to be a role model for diabetics, as well as an informative figure for those who do not know about diabetes, or want to know what it is like.”

Shead was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 9. Her book is more than just an informative guide for diabetics and people who are interested in learning about the disease – it is a tale of strength and perseverance.

“My diabetes has heavily impacted my life but, above all, it has helped me grow into a tough-skinned, brave, and intelligent person,” Shead said.

“Taking needles everyday has toughened me, made me stronger, and educated me on how to take care of myself in a way most people do not.”

With the World Diabetes Day coming up on Nov. 14, Shead hopes that her book will aid in the efforts to create more awareness about diabetes.

“Like any other disease, it is important to raise awareness about diabetes because living with diabetes can be challenging from time to time.”