“My dad was the chief of our family. He cared for 9 of us kids plus his 8 siblings who often travelled from Tonga. He worked 3 jobs but I never saw him sleep, get mad or complain. My dad spent so much time caring about other people that he didn’t care about his own health. He got diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes but he was stubborn. Even after the doctors told him it was a life and death scenario he didn’t do anything to change his diet or lifestyle. We all tried to encourage him. Even my daughter, his granddaughter who he adored. When she was 4 she used to get him going on walks with her. She energised him but his bad habits remained and we lost Dad in 2009.

I became a personal trainer because I wanted to help people with diabetes, especially Pacific Islanders. I wanted to educate them about healthy food and exercise and then let them make the changes in their own lives.

The hurt after losing someone so close to you, after you “could” have done something to help save them is unbearable. Even now, 7 years gone I still feel that same hurt. A question I would ask any Grandparent diagnosed with diabetes is how much do you love your grand kids? Do you want to live to see them grow? Well you need to eat well and exercise to live longer, it’s up to you if you want to stick around.”

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