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Maddison Jones discusses how learning to live with a debilitating disease has helped boost her resilience and live her best life.

Maddison Jones was in high school and on exchange in Italy when she discovered she had Type 1 diabetes. Six weeks into a six-month language exchange near Milan, she realised she had lost 20 kilos and could not quench her thirst. Leg cramps were causing excruciating pain.

Her host mother took the NSW south coast 16-year-old to hospital where she was told her blood sugar levels were 35 – way higher than the healthy level of between four and 10.

“I ended up in hospital for three weeks on an insulin drip,” Jones recalls. “My parents had to fly over to bring me home. We were all in shock, as no one else in my family had ever had Type 1 diabetes, which we were told was a genetic disease.”

Jones and her family took on the role of learning about diabetes seriously. After all, the autoimmune disease is so serious it can result in death.

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