Since joining the Jumpstart diabetes education and lifestyle programme at her local YMCA, 77 year-old Tirita Coombe has found a new lease on life. 

In March 2017 Tirita received the news she had always dreaded. Her GP had just informed her she had prediabetes and, without action, she was likely to develop type 2 diabetes – a disease that plagues her family.

“My immediate reaction was ‘I’m not going there’,” says Tirita of the diagnosis.

Despite leading an active life, Tirita had already suffered a number of blows, including two operations for a hip replacement, a minor stroke and the loss of her husband. The end result was bouts of depression, isolation and difficulties staying mobile. 

Her doctor’s diagnosis was the last straw. Tirita explains most of her family are diabetic, including a sister on insulin and two now deceased brothers who had amputations as a result of their diabetes. She was determined not to suffer the same fate.

Seeking support, she signed up to the Jumpstart diabetes education and lifestyle programme at her local YMCA. Just four weeks into the 10 week programme and she had already lost three kilograms and six inches around her waist. She continues to regularly exercise and her GP is pleased by the results.

“I went to the doctor and he just looked at me and asked ‘What have you been doing? You look so well!’”

Tirita says the programme has given her more energy and the motivation to stay active, as well as providing other health benefits: “My asthma has improved, particularly at night time, and I sleep better.”

After seeing so many family members struggle with diabetes, Tirita is thrilled to have found support in Jumpstart. The programme’s nutrition seminars are empowering her with the knowledge to make healthy choices, and the supportive community at her local YMCA has motivated her to keep going.

“I feel so energised and so good. I really feel as if I have a second chance at life.”

Find out more about Jumpstart at