5. Holding Space for Our Broken Parts: A Childhood with Type 1 Diabetes with Kaden Kessel

Image of Britta Bushnell and her son Kaden Kessel and a quote from the podcast Transformed about living with type 1 diabetes
Transformed podcast

In this episode, you get to enjoy an intimate conversation between mother and son about living with type 1 diabetes. Kaden was diagnosed at the young age of 2-years-old and thanks his early diagnosis for being his greatest teacher through his 18 years of navigating life with a chronic disease.

This episode breeds empathy for all children living with disease, can be helpful for parents navigating raising a child with disease, and inspire anyone to hold space for their broken parts, no matter what they may be.

Kaden and I discuss:

  • Navigating feelings of being broken
  • Holding space for big feelings
  • Being there for yourself while helping others
  • The role of fear in transformation
  • Lessons from living with a chronic disease
  • Growing through adversity

Some peoples vulnerabilities and insecurities are more out in the world than mine, and some are buried and hidden. Having diabetes taught me how to be open and vulnerable about my broken parts at a really early stage in life, and have compassion for others knowing for a fact that their insecurities exist, too.“- quote author


Kaden Kessel was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just before his third birthday. As long as he can remember, diabetes has been a part of his life. Kaden made a pledge to himself early in his journey that he would not let diabetes prevent him from doing anything that really mattered to him. He has followed his passions relentlessly and with purpose. He has served as a JDRF Children’s Congress Delegate speaking to congressional members about the needs of the type one community at the age of seven, spoke to diabetes medical equipment maker Medtronic, and served as Walk Youth Ambassador to the One Walk in Los Angeles. Now, at age twenty, Kaden recently finished his sophomore year at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and continues to follow his dreams while living with type one diabetes.Kaden is passionate about foreign policy, specifically in the Middle East and is eager to work in public service with the goal to help others.


  • To become involved with the fight to end Type One Diabetes, or for more support while living with diabetes, visit JDRF

Produced by Aleksa Mara
Edited by Veronica Gruba
Hosted & Created by Britta Bushnell, PHD

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Dr. Britta Bushnell

is a writer, teacher, storyteller, and mentor who blends her eclectic training, years of experience, and areas of study into a unique offering for individuals, couples, professionals, and groups. Britta is currently deep at work writing her forthcoming book, Transformed by Birth: Illuminating cultural ideals to enhance the experience of childbirth.