Kathleen Nelson is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator living in Toronto.

Kathleen Nelson

What the Diabetes Charter for Canada means to me

The Diabetes Charter of Canada is like a roadmap. It gives direction to everyone who is responsible for providing access to the best care for individuals living with diabetes, including diabetes educators like me. Included in the Charter are special considerations like the age, cultural background, language and religion of people with diabetes, which are important because these factors can create barriers to care.

My diabetes story

My parents had diabetes and my dad died of diabetes-related complications. Six of my siblings and one of my children have type 2 diabetes. I do not have the disease, but I am at high risk due to my family history and the fact that I’m being treated for high blood pressure. Fortunately, I’m taking all the preventative measures, such as eating healthy, maintaining a healthy body weight, having a yearly check of my A1C levels (my blood glucose levels over the past three to four months) and treating my high blood pressure.

I founded the Canadian Diabetes Association’s Caribbean Diabetes Chapter because of what happened to my dad. I have worked tirelessly in my community to create diabetes awareness, giving presentations in churches and screenings in malls. I initiated the Black Diabetes Expo to reach more Black people living with diabetes in the GTA. As a nurse and diabetes educator, I know how important it is to educate people about what diabetes is and how it affects the body if it’s not controlled. Knowing this at the start can help motivate people to learn more and to control their diabetes with support from their diabetes care team, and to maximize their potential.

Join Kathleen and say YES to a Diabetes Charter for Canada today.