Lucky for me, or maybe for the world :-O, I never aspired to be an astronaut or an airline pilot for my career. But I have met just a few people with diabetes who did. In particular, a couple who all they wanted in life was to fly airplanes. But when they were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes they ruled it out. At the Diabetes Hands Foundation MasterLab 2016 conference there was a fantastic presentation on “Diabetes Discrimination in the Workplace” that prompted me to feature this issue. I’ve divided it into two posts though as it was getting a bit long.
The first of which is how diabetes may affect your career choice. The second post will feature discrimination in your workplace and what your rights are.
Did you know that it’s only since 2015 that a person with type 1 diabetes can apply for An Garda Siochana in Ireland? But there are still difficulties for people with type 1 diabetes who want to join the defense forces, emergency services, railway workers and some careers at sea? What this probably means is that no one with type 1 diabetes has succeeded in passing the fitness tests to qualify for any of these careers. (source; Diabetes Ireland). But other countries don't have these restrictions. Why can a person with diabetes be a member of the police force in the US and not be in Ireland? Well, it's because these rules are being challenged in those countries and winning!
In the UK, some NHS Ambulance Trusts, still have restrictions in place on people with diabetes who wish to be ambulance crew. But these restrictions are being challenged.
In the US a person with diabetes CAN be a firefighter or a police officer! You CAN be a commercial pilot in the UK and Canada but not in the US. This is being challenged also.
My point is if you have a dream, if you know what you want to do with your life, don’t let people put you off. If you feel that you are right for any of those careers, then go for it! Where there is a will there is a way!
Here's the video from MasterLab 2016 - well worth a watch!!
I had hoped to publish part 2 of Diabetes Discrimination along with this post but Ha! Intentions were good but time did not cooperate. Part 2 next week!