Meet the Diabetes SA Ambassadors

Josh Ryan

Josh Ryan is 24 years old. He’s fit, healthy, a non-smoker, and playing in the SANFL for the West Adelaide Football Club. Originally from Mildura (Victoria), Josh moved to Adelaide in 2016 and now lives near the beach and enjoys running, cooking and is a co-founder of advertising app Sticky-Beek. Josh is also an Ambassador for Diabetes SA.

The background story of his passion for raising awareness of diabetes is very personal and all about his own family. He wants to share his experience of how living with diabetes can impact individuals and families and help support the Diabetes SA facethefacts campaign to raise awareness of the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Josh’s grandpa Graham was 41 years of age when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Josh recounts the story from Nerdene (Josh’s Mum) that he was very sick at the time and had lost a lot of weight. Diabetes was not common, and no doctor had picked it up, which is why he was so ill. Finally, the local pharmacist provided the diagnosis, and Graham spent seven days in hospital adjusting to living with diabetes. Josh said that at the time, Graham was simply told by doctors that his body had stopped producing insulin, so he had to “inject it instead”. “Fortunately, far more information is available now, and grandpa is living really well at 83,” said Josh.

Diabetes made another return to the family in late 2020, when Josh’s mum Nerdene had a routine health check-up. Her blood glucose level was very high, and Nerdene was told she had type 2 diabetes. At just 51, and with no signs or symptoms, this came as a shock to her and the family. Josh said, “Mum is currently taking tablets and making lifestyle changes to help manage her diabetes”.

Josh is determined to increase the number of people who check their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. He will be encouraging his friends and family, teammates and club officials, and even footy fans to do the simple 11 question AUSDRISK test.

“I did the test myself, and my result was 10 (intermediate risk). I knew with my family history and other factors out of my control, I am at risk of getting diabetes in the future, so I’ll be doing everything I can to minimize the risk,” said Josh.

Josh also wants to bring his footy skills, and mix in some fun, to kids living with type 1 diabetes by participating in Diabetes SA Teen and Kids Camps in 2021, alongside Brendan Teys from the Adelaide 36ers.

Welcome Josh and we look forward to helping Diabetes SA raise awareness in the community.

Brendan Teys

Brendan Teys is the captain of the Adelaide 36ers NBL Basketball team, a leader with a ‘team-first’ approach, family man to Lori, Frankie and baby Hallie, and now an official Ambassador for Diabetes SA!

When meeting Brendan for the first time, people encounter a genuine, easy going and relaxed individual. Having a chat about anything basketball, family, and even the strange way we have all coped with COVID restrictions, is all very easy.

Brendan is also a man who is driven by many things. In recent times he has been driven to understand diabetes.

Only a few months ago, Brendan’s niece Zoe, was diagnosed completely unexpectedly at age 11, with type 1 diabetes. Like many others, the family are trying to navigate this diagnosis and all that it entails, as best they can.

“This has been a steep learning curve for my niece, and also her parents. I know they are putting in a huge effort so that Zoe can be as active as she was before her diagnosis, and just get on with being her best self,” Brendan says proudly.

Brendan is actively finding out more and more about type 1 diabetes, and has taken on the role of Ambassador for Diabetes SA, in the hope that he can inspire other children and young people to be active and healthy living with type 1.

“I’m learning that exercise is more complicated for kids living with type 1, but there are so many benefits that I really want to help out, especially at camp”.

Brendan’s intention is to raise the awareness of type 1, actively promote the research into type 1 that is being funded by Diabetes SA and raise much needed funds for the organisation that has become close to his heart.

"I just want to really get behind Diabetes SA, and to put my name behind raising awareness of type 1 diabetes, because of the importance to my family, and also the community." Brendan concluded.

We are all grateful to Brendan for his passion and commitment and look forward to his involvement.