health scare
Photo Credit: Supplied

Ahead of his final matric exams, a health scare came knocking for Ethan Williams. Diabetes changed the teen’s life completely…he learnt to cook, changed lifestyle habits harmful to his body and graduated as his grade’s top achiever. His story:


South Africa (03 September 2023) — Last year ahead of his final matric exams, Ethan Williams (19) got a big skrik when a health scare came knocking.

After feeling dehydrated despite drinking water often and losing a lot of weight rapidly (10kgs), his mom, Mariette became worried that this was more than a tummy bug.

After a trip to their GP, Ethan got the news that he’d been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which happens when beta-cells (insulin-producing cells) in a person’s pancreas are damaged.

The news shocked him, especially because as Mariette recalls, the doctors treated it like an emergency, spending the next three hours attempting to stabilise her son’s blood sugar.

Insulin injections would become a norm for the teenager who shares that he takes insulin four times a day and wears a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to measure his blood sugar.

“It was a steep learning curve at first”, he looks back. Now, it’s something Ethan sees as a great lesson from life.

From the moment he got home, he knew his lifestyle habits had to change. His mom was already ahead of him, emptying their cupboards of any high carbohydrate and sugary products not to return. With his family behind him and those close to him understanding of the scary journey diabetes can be especially for a young person, the journey became a team effort.

For the first six months after his diagnosis, Ethan went for monthly check-ups at his doctor. He now only goes every three months.

However, the changes also manifested in his schoolwork. Despite the disruption of his health scare, Ethan excelled in his final year and was even awarded for being his grade’s top achiever.

“If anything, my schoolwork has actually gotten better since my diagnosis,” he says. “Before that I’d become increasingly unfit, and I was often tired in class. That has gotten progressively better since I started my diabetes treatment,” he shares of his unexpected silver lining.

Mariette advises others with diabetes to find not only a knowledgeable doctor, but a passionate one who understands diabetes.

Sources: Supplied
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About the Author

Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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