'What it's like to live with diabetes as an elite athlete.'

Thanks to our brand partner, Medtronic

Elite adaptive athlete and passionate disability advocate, Natasha Price, was just 18 years old when she was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. 

Although she wasn’t expecting the diagnosis, it "wasn’t a total shock" either, with several family members having been diagnosed with the condition. 

"I didn't initially think of it as that huge a deal. It was just another health issue for me to deal with," says Natasha. "I'd had fibromyalgia — a chronic condition that causes musculoskeletal pain — plus rheumatoid arthritis, and a few other things to contend with, so I kind of took it on the chin.

"It wasn't until I'd probably been diabetic for maybe four years before it actually started to become quite problematic for me."

Believing her diagnosis was controlling her life through food limitations, Natasha tried to take some power back, but ultimately fell into an eating disorder, which left her hospitalised — a common response to the diagnosis, particularly among women. 

Natasha has educated herself though over time about what it means to be type 1 diabetic, and the importance of maintaining a suitable diet and levels of activity. Without proper maintenance of blood sugar levels, diabetics can experience adverse effects, so food intake and exercise does matter. 

"Potentially, that's part of the reason why I ended up with such disordered eating, because I got sick of having to constantly battle with blood sugars, in order to maintain enough control to keep my life the way I wanted it to be — as a dancer, as a college student, and as a young woman that just wanted to go out and enjoy life."


With focus and the resources in place, diabetics can monitor and manage their blood sugar levels. However, the 24/7 nature of doing so has left many diabetics experiencing burnout. 'Diabetes burnout' is currently being experienced by 76 per cent of individuals, according to a 2024 study of 3,000 people conducted by The Type 1 Foundation

It's thanks to incredible technological innovation that managing blood sugar levels and insulin requirements can be a significantly easier. 

Insulin pumps, like those offered from Medtronic, actively reads blood sugar levels, automatically adjusting the individual's required insulin levels. This eliminates the need for constant manual monitoring, ultimately enabling diabetics to take back some control in their day. 

"Just because something is challenging or hard work, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. If you keep the fun… you keep the positivity. And remain on track." Image: Instagram/@the_invincable_woman.


Unfortunately, there are significant gaps between technological innovation and its effective implementation. While there’s a lot of work being done within the diabetes industry to ensure broader accessibility, it's this barrier of access and affordability that makes this technology prohibitive for many.

Despite the life-changing nature of insulin pumps, now considered a global standard of care, this technology is not currently government funded in Australia.

The myths of type 1 diabetes versus the reality. 

Natasha says many people assume people with type 1 diabetes are limited by what they can eat and how much they can exercise. She says the opposite is true. 

"As a diabetic, you can generally eat what you want, when you want. Exercise for any type 1 diabetic is extremely important and it's actually one of the best ways in keeping control over your blood sugars," she says. 


For Natasha, who won Gold Coast Para Sports Star of the Year 2024, there are some additional considerations, but having type 1 diabetes has never stopped her from enjoying all the things she loves, including intense training. 

"I'm training four hours a day, at least. And, because of that, there can be quite huge fluctuations in what my blood sugars are doing. And, of course, it depends on whether I'm doing cardio exercise or strength training."

As a wheelchair racer, whether she’s doing long or short distance also has an impact. "I'm also a CrossFit athlete. So the way my body reacts to that style of exercise in gym training is very different."

"I want to qualify for the Paralympics."

Image: Supplied.


For ten years, Natasha was essentially bed-bound due to a rare disease that left her blind and paralysed almost overnight. "Of course the thought of being an athlete wasn't something that even entered my mind in those days."

Then she saw wheelchair athlete, Kurt Fearnley, on television. 

"I remember thinking to myself, 'Oh, that is exactly what I want to do'. I think the people around me thought I was absolutely crazy because at the time, I couldn't even get myself out of bed, I couldn't toilet myself, I couldn't shower myself, I couldn't do anything for myself."

Twelve months later Natasha was competing in her first Gold Coast Marathon. "It took me well over six hours, whereas it takes me about two and a half now."

Having achieved all of that, her diabetes diagnosis didn’t deter her from her goals whatsoever. 

"I have considered it an extra challenge, but I've always been a person that adapts to situations and it doesn't matter what it is, you find a way of working it out. 


"I'm not saying that's easy because it's not, but there's always a way. So, this year I'm really pushing the fact that I want to qualify for the Paralympics."

Natasha's advice for type 1 diabetics. 

"I can just go out and chase this epic life and keep chasing my goals and, and do everything I can to make it happen without having to worry and fret and be scared."

For anyone who has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Natasha has this advice. 

"Things are different with type 1 diabetes, but there are so many things you can gain from it. You gain insight. You can gain resilience, and strength, and courage and determination. And those are all skills that people who don't face challenges rarely have. They’re your superpowers. A challenge and difficulties in life don't mean that you can't have an epic life.

"It might suck sometimes, but at the same time, it doesn't have to stop you or prevent you from doing what you want to do. Take precautions. Make sure you're doing all you can to look out for yourself and your health, but still go out and just chase down every single dream because you can make them reality.

"Diabetes never has to change that, and I'm living proof of it."

Explore Medtronic's advance technology to navigate your own unique diabetes journey. 

Always follow the directions for use.

Feature Image: Supplied.

Medtronic is dedicated to engineering the extraordinary to improve lives. They tackle some of the most challenging health problems facing humanity, striving to change lives for the better. Their leading healthcare technologies aim to treat and help manage various conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. With a global team of 90,000+ passionate people under the mission to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life. Medtronic pioneered insulin pumps 50 years ago and have been operating in Australia for 40 years. We look to continually innovate for Type 1 diabetes integrated solutions that improve both clinical outcomes and the burden of living with Type 1 diabetes.