Candelaria´s journey with diabetes

Candelaria is 55 years old and lives in San Juan La Laguna with her husband and her two younger sons. Candelaria works as a cook, while her husband works in the fields. Unfortunately, the money that they both make is not always enough to make ends meet, but they try to provide for their sons as much as they can.

Candelaria has been a part of the “Let´s Walk Together” Diabetes Program since it first started in 2012. She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2007, and before coming to the San Juan clinic she used to go to San Pedro for her check-ups, which was further away and more expensive.

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“I thank god for the chance that he gave me. Even though diabetes is something that I have to live with, I can still live a full life. I need to keep my sugar levels in balance, but other than that I live a normal, happy life.”

Despite Candelaria´s current positive mindset, when she was diagnosed, it was hard for her to accept it. She didn’t feel like herself and she struggled with mental health, “I was very sad. I felt so bad that I didn´t even want to go out; I stayed in my house all day. In 2009 one of my sons was killed, and that made everything worse. There was a point when I even thought about ending my own life, because I thought it would be easier than having to live with diabetes. But I was lucky I had the support of my husband, who helped me get better and encourage me to continue living an active life. Now I am very happy and motivated.”

Candelaria really enjoys coming to the talks and the workshops, since they distract her and she gets to learn a lot, “Every time I come I leave my worries behind.  I get to exercise and learn new things. I even became friends with the other participants; we share our experiences and give each other advice”.

Since she joined our Let´s Walk Together Club, Candelaria has made some major changes in her lifestyle. Now she is on a sugar-free and low-calorie diet, which includes drinking lots of water. The support of her family has been one of the main reasons she has been able to stick to these changes: “No one in my home drinks soda anymore, because I cannot drink it. They also stopped eating food with too much fat, because of me. It has made things easier for me”.

In the poor communities of Guatemala, the lack of resources for primary health care, low physical activity and bad nutrition have contributed with the permanence of diabetes as one of the main causes of death in the country. Our Let´s Walk Together Program encourages them to make lifestyle changes that are going to improve their health.

For more information about our program and our sponsorship opportunities reach out to Communications and Fundraising Manager, Katja Gryl at communications.manager@odimguatemala.org. To sign up as a sponsor click here