As the world marks Diabetes Day on November 14, www.joc.jo met with an inspirational member of the sporting community who has not let the disease hold her back!
Coming from a strong athletic background and a healthy lifestyle at the time of her diagnosis with Type 1 diabetes, Heba Rahhal, 38, chose to face her new life challenge with a positive outlook, and was able to do so in spite of the foretold difficulties of living with diabetes.
Her passion for life and her love for sharing how living with a positive perspective would help others as it is helping her, she began her journey of inspiring people living with diabetes, especially children and young people with type 1.
“Living with diabetes is similar to any of life’s challenges, it’s a roller coaster, you can’t always be on top of things, and that is ok!” said Heba.
“The key is to live life fully with its ups and downs, managing to pull yourself up and dealing with all the challenges that come your way and keep changing. To do so with a determined smile, a positive approach and with no limitations is the key. ”
Heba had been active since her early years excelling in many sports in school, to grow into a talented athlete in volleyball and athletics during her school and university years, receiving several medals on the national level. Her talent in fencing was noticed and she was selected to play on the National Team, during which she received several national gold and silver medals and won a bronze medal in the Pan Arab Games held in Amman in 1999.
Her passion and talent in sport led her to study and she received a BA degree in P.E. and was later, as a learning facilitator in the National Coaching Certification Program, nominated for a scholarship to study for her Executive Masters in Sports Organization Management (MEMOS).
When Heba was not participating or out in the field you could find her reading a book or writing, which was another of her passions that she grew into a career as an English writer and copywriter.
“Let what you do be driven by what you love” is what motivates her she says!
Right at the peak of her athletic career, and just after one month of her 22nd birthday, graduation and receiving her bronze medal in the Pan Arab games, Heba was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, this was in September 1999. The news came with great surprise and astonishment even from her doctors as she was healthy and in excellent health and had no family history of diabetes.
Being used to any challenge, her decision was to live with positivity and to lead a healthy lifestyle, not letting diabetes stand in the way of her sports career, although before her diagnoses she knew nothing about diabetes, she was determined to learn all about it and how to continue living fully.
Being open about her diabetes, she did not hesitate to share her experience with the hope of giving support and inspiration to children with diabetes within her society and the region through the media, children’s camps and any event through which she participated as a model and an inspirational speaker.
Her main message had always been and still is, “you can do anything” and “you can live a normal healthy life and be active”.
Believing that through sports, people with diabetes can lead a healthier and more controlled life, her main massage to them is, “Don’t let your diabetes be your limitation!”.
With a desire and the passion to see more awareness and support be provided to people with diabetes, and mainly people with type 1 diabetes; and filled with her drive to help them lead a healthy active life, Heba was selected to become My Diabetes Story Jordanian Ambassador.
Heba’s belief in this initiative comes from its importance, for through the “My Diabetes Story” online community and its activities there would be a wider reach and more people with diabetes can be supported and inspired to live fully.
As she is continuously asked how she does this, she replies: “When faced with any kind of challenge in life, Diabetes or other; it is not the challenge itself, but the way you decide to look at it that matters!”