“My name is Alicia O’Callaghan. I am 20 years old from Ballingarry Co. Limerick. I am a Type 1 Diabetic and was diagnosed when I was 7 years old.
At that time I spent two weeks in the hospital frightened, upset, sore and felt as if my life had turned upside down. I was introduced to blood sugar monitoring, injections, and books to learn about being a Type 1 Diabetic. This was very scary at the time but I had great support from my family and also the Diabetic team.
Throughout my school years, I made it onto the Limerick County camogie panel for 4 consecutive years. I also excelled in high-level soccer leagues which included; The Desmond League, Gaynor Cup, Emerald Cup and U19’s Limerick FC team. Sports was my life and having Type1 Diabetes never stopped me!
Along the years I have raised money for Diabetes Ireland, I organised Colours Day in schools, bake sales, and bucket collections and I also ran the Great Limerick Run.
This year I have done something a little out of my comfort zone, and I applied for Miss Ireland. To my surprise, on the 13th of August, I was crowned Miss Limerick 2023.
The Miss Ireland final took place on the 4th of November in Dublin. Unfortunately, I did not place, but the experience was out of this world. We had the opportunity to pick a charity of our choice, and of course, I chose Diabetes Ireland! With the help of my community, I was able to raise roughly €2,500, which I think is absolutely amazing! During the journey of Miss Ireland, I also got to highlight the fact that Diabetes is a subject that many people may not know about. Especially highlighting the difference between Type1 and Type2 Diabetes and the stereotypes around them.
I am forever grateful for the experience and the support from everyone, and I hope that I have given an insight to non-diabetics about how diabetes can really affect a person!
The reason that I applied for Miss Ireland was to promote Type1 Diabetes more and show children/ young adults that Diabetes will never stop you from achieving anything you want in life!”