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16 December 2018

Movers & Shakers

Meet Urska Perc, youth advocate from Slovenia

UrskaAt 21, Urska Perc is determined to make a difference for young people living with diabetes. A passionate medicines student, this young leader from Slovenia is also the initiator of Slovenia’s first diabetes youth group.

The idea of setting up a group for young people with diabetes was born last Summer, in July 2012, when Urska took part in the IDF Europe Youth Leadership camp, an experience that would change her perspective on diabetes.

“Before the youth camp, I was actually not much involved in the work of my association. Of course, when people needed my help, I was there. But that was it – I didn’t really see what else I could do to help the diabetes community.”  This changed after the camp. “Meeting other young people with diabetes from all over Europe, I learned how they were involved in their countries through their youth group. That’s when I realized so much more could be done.”

Since the camp, Urska has been contacting other young people with diabetes as well as the Slovenian Diabetes Association to create a fully-fledged youth group. “That’s my objective now. I want to build a group that can help young people with diabetes share their struggles and victories about diabetes. Something that is inspiring for them, and that shows them there’s no barrier to realizing your dreams even when you live with diabetes.”

So far, the youth group met several times to discuss possible projects and also organized a successful flash mob in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, to raise awareness of diabetes on World Diabetes Day. The group will have its first formal meeting later in April.

“I now volunteer because I know much more can be done for young people with diabetes and the diabetes community in general. I know what kind of support I missed being a patient – when I was first diagnosed with diabetes and when I had to learn how to deal with it afterwards. I want to bring that extra support to people.”

Regarding her future projects, Urska will continue develop the youth group in Slovenia. “I want to show young people with diabetes that nothing is impossible to us.” Urska will also work hard to finish her studies in medicines, and will also aim to run a marathon. “That I want to do, at least once in my life! And of course, the most important, I’m determined to enjoy life to the fullest, day after day.”

Favourite quote: “Everything is possible, when you believe!”

Photo: Urska (left) with Anna, young leader from Poland (right) at the 2012 IDF Europe Youth Leadership Camp