In the meantime, we have several newcomers to our OPEN team. First of all, Timothée will introduce himself to you.
Hello, hello, my name is Timothée, I am 28 years old and I have been living with diabetes since more than 14 years.
Together with Katarina Braune I was the European Chair of the Young Leaders in Diabetes Program. This program has been an incredible personal and professional incubator where I also had the chance to meet Shane O’Donnell and Bastian Hauck. All three members… well, roots of the OPEN project.
Until I know if I´m going to choose a loop, I am one of the people with type 1 diabetes that still use pens with different types of insulin and multiple injections per day. I have never been able to solve my internal conflict between the freedom of not constantly wearing a pump versus being without injections. The injections have won so far, let’s see if participating in this team will change my mind or not??!!
Aside from my diabetes-related story, I grew up in sub-Saharan Africa (Gabon, Congo, Cameroon and others) until the age of 14, before landing in my ‘country of origin’, Belgium. I have a BA in Social Care Studies and worked as an educator in an association that sailed with young people facing different kinds of difficulties – including T1D. Then, I studied in the UK for my MA in Education (International Education) and even though this topic is not directly linked to the aims of OPEN, I became familiar with qualitative methods and research – which OPENed the door to OPEN. Therefore, I am mainly working on work package 4 – barriers to scale-up.
Nevertheless, after my MA I really wanted to go back and LIVE in Africa. It took me some time to figure out how I wanted to do that. So, I went from internships to small jobs – between Chad, Belgium and Benin – trying to figure out what to do and where to do it. At the beginning of 2018 I decided to quit my job in Belgium and try to build my own project. This led me to try and set up an eco-lodge in northern Benin – and offer motorbike tours in the mountains. I created a company, had the land to start with, but, sadly, there was an attack that resulted in a guide being murdered and two tourists being abducted. The foreseeable consequences of this is a slowdown (massive slowdown) of activities in the touristic sector. I had to put my hopes and dreams in my pocket for a while.
So, I returned to Belgium with a bag full of questions. Research has always been something that I particularly enjoyed doing. Katarina talked to me about the project and secondment. I saw that I could join in two things that I feel passionate about, diabetes and research. In addition, I felt that I could really help and that the working methodology would suit mine. Also, I always kept the idea of a PhD in mind, and coming back to research could be a nice step towards this – even if the topic is still a bit blurry.
I like to travel, read, wander about in unknown places, and comfort myself by telling others that I like running. On some days I am highly social and on others I can be a real hermit. I like deep talking under the sun on a terrace with a beer in my hand. Get lost trying to find my way. The rhythm of the sea.
Finally, please be sure that I am both honoured and excited to be working in such a project with such objectives, such methodology, such incredible people AND such a fantastic community.
Thank you, Tim! We are very happy that with you we have another passionate, skilled, pleasant and humorous person in our team!