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13 December 2017

Movers & Shakers

Meet Cajsa Lindberg, diabetes youth advocate from Sweden

Cajsa2Cajsa Lindberg is a dedicated advocate for people with diabetes both in Sweden and worldwide, and recently joined the IDF Europe office in Brussels as part of the member association staff exchange programme. Cajsa is living with type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed at the age of 13: “Being diagnosed with diabetes is never easy no matter how old you are. I was diagnosed at 13 which was too old to have my parents take care of my diabetes for me, but, in hindsight, still too young to manage completely alone. Commenting on what it’s like to be a teenager with diabetes, she says: “Growing up with diabetes means having to take a lot of responsibility early on in life, and I think it makes you grow up quicker than many others.”

Cajsa joined Ung Diabetes, the youth council of the Swedish Diabetes Association, in 2012 and worked at first with communications and marketing. In 2014, she became president and now works more with advocacy and strategic organisational issues. “After going through a pretty rough time with my diabetes, I realized I needed to meet others with diabetes and also give back to a community that has helped me a lot.” Cajsa is also one of IDF Global's Young Leaders in Diabetes and is a member of the Advocacy Task Force. On her work within the diabetes community, she comments: “I’m so proud to be involved with both the Swedish Association and the YLD program. It’s really changed my life and I feel like I’ve found something that I’m truly passionate about.” She adds: “Diabetes is very often underestimated, and we need to make sure that it gets the attention it deserves from both policy makers and the general public. I want to increase patient involvement in political decision-making to ensure that people with diabetes, both young and old, are heard in matters that affect them.”

On 1 July, Cajsa joined the IDF Europe team as part of the staff exchange programme. The aim of the programme is to strengthen the collaboration between IDF Europe and its members by having someone from a member association come and work with IDF Europe projects at the office for six months. In return, the staff exchange also shares their own experience from work at the national level and helps identify areas where IDF Europe can improve its work towards its members. Cajsa is no stranger to IDF Europe as she took part in the 2014 Youth Leadership Camp in Croatia, but will now work with the rest of the team in the Brussels office. “I am really looking forward to developing my knowledge of the diabetes world here at the IDF Europe office, and working on both internal matters and external projects. I am also very excited about the possibility of learning more about public health and EU policy-making on this.”

After her stay in Brussels is over, Cajsa will go back to Copenhagen to finish her master’s degree in International Business and Politics, after which she hopes to work with health, human rights and development issues. On her engagement in the diabetes world, she says: “I will definitely keep working with diabetes advocacy in one way or another because it is something I really feel strongly about. But I would also love to do more hands-on work to be closer to the people who, like me, are living with diabetes. I have 1000 things I would like to do. All I need to find is the time!”

Favourite quote: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)

Hopes for the future: “To stay healthy and to travel! I have so much left to see of the world and so many people left to meet.”