EastEnders' Jonny Labey on his surprise diabetes diagnosis
Real Stories "My Grandfather was Type 2 so I randomly decided to test my sugar levels on his blood glucose monitor."
How and why were you diagnosed?
"I was diagnosed completely out of the blue, although if I was to point a finger at anything I'd put it down to stress from exams at school. I all of a sudden started feeling tired, lethargic and INEXPLICABLY thirsty. I was downing water so rapidly which of course meant that I was going to the toilet every 20 minutes! My Grandfather was Type 2 so I randomly decided to test my sugar levels on his blood glucose monitor and tested at 26.6 which is five times more than what you're meant to be, and so from there I knew something was wrong."
How would you like to help other people with Type 1?
"For me it's all about mind set. Once you're about a year into being diagnosed you start to feel in control. However during that period of time to get there it is so vital to stay strong and know that you can and will achieve anything you want to regardless of this condition. I want young people to understand that it's not all over it's just a case of altering and adjusting."
What was the highlight of your time on EastEnders?
"I'm still enjoying the highlights of being apart of it and knowing the people I do, but specifically doing the last week in the build up to Paul's death."
How much training did you have to do to win Dance Dance Dance – and how long did you spend studying Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake videos?
"By the time it got the final we realised how much preparation and practice we put in because we both said that if there was another week after that we couldn't have done it! We were so drained but at the same time overcome with pride of what we managed to achieve and how far out of our comfort zones we went."
What’s your ultimate career ambition?
"So far my career has been so spread out over so many different amazing platforms! My only ever hope has always been to carry on playing good parts and to never have to get a 'real job'! If I can manage both those things I'll be made up! Although speaking about 'ultimately' I suppose it would be to ride the La La Land wave, being a lead in something that re-popularizes the Hollywood Musical era... it's coming!"
Why do you support Diabetes UK?
"I support Diabetes UK because of obvious reasons, myself being Type 1 Diabetic but also because Type 2 diabetes is a condition that is sadly growing. Considering that, educating people on diet and exercise is a way of combatting this. In time, I hope this will reduce the costing of medical bills for the NHS and give people in the UK a better way of life seems an easy solutionto which I'll more than gladly contribute by any means necessary."
How has the rise of technology for type 1 technology affected how you manage living with Type 1 diabetes?
"The blood Glucose monitors have evolved tremendously since i was first diagnosed even 10 years ago so to think of what's to come in another 10 is very exciting. I personally don't have all the new gadgets and whistles, i'm still fairly safe and old school HOWEVER i would gladly accept it into my life as i know it would make things a lot simpler."
What advice would you give to loved ones or friends who have just been diagnosed with Type 1 (or Type 2) diabetes?
"You're going to be fine! Take it very seriously but know that there are a network of people out there that either have or know someone who has the condition so chances are they'll always be someone on hand in you need anything! Stay positive and keep striving towards whatever it is you want to do!"
What’s next? (in terms of work)
"I'm currently judging! It's the second series of Taking The Next Step which is a CBBC programme later this year. In terms of acting I will hopefully be getting back onto people's TVs as soon as possible!"