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Strictly star Nikita Kuzmin's fears about 'career-ending' diabetes

The professional dancer, who is partnered with Layton Williams on the BBC ballroom show, was diagnosed aged 13

Nikita Kuzmin in a black blazer in front of a brick wall
Melanie Macleod
Melanie MacleodWellness Editor
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Nikita Kuzmin has been excelling on Strictly Come Dancing in recent years, just missing out on the quarter-final with Tilly Ramsay and making it to the halfway mark with Ellie Symonds, and he has already been impressing judges with his celebrity partner Layton Williams in 2023.

But the professional dancer, 25, feared that his career would be over when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 13. Now, he wants to spread the message that it can be a "superpower" and highlights his Libre Sensor in the dance competition. 

Nikita Kuzmin and Layton Williams dancing a quickstep© Guy Levy
Nikita Kuzmin is partnered with Layton Williams on Strictly Come Dancing 2023

"The message I would really love to send to all the kids and general people is that this is our superpower.

"We get to learn how to be responsible from a young age. How to deal with problems with the condition," he told the Daily Star, adding: "It's really important that we find someone with the same condition."

Recalling his own fears after he found out about his diagnosis, he said: "Like when I found out, I was 13 and I just came back to Ukraine and at that time, I'd been dancing already for nine years. I lived in three countries and everything because of that.

"So when I found out, I thought, 'My career's over,' and the next morning I woke up and I saw all those kids smiling and they were happy and they were diabetics just like me. I went out of my room and - this is one of my best memories in my life - there was this wall of fame.

Nikita Kuzmin at Boodles Tennis Day 2© Ben Hoskins
Nikita Kuzmin said his diabetes is his "superpower"

"It was all of the famous, successful diabetics - Olympians, Paralympians, presidents, actors - everything. And actually, I think I made quite a few of them up because I thought there were quite a few more people than there actually were. I checked a couple of days ago and most of them were not even there!"

How is Nikita Kuzmin dealing with Type 1 diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease that needs to be monitored every day to ensure the dancer stays well.

Strictly viewers will have noticed that Nikita has a little white patch on the back of his arm. This is a Libre Sensor, which monitors his blood sugar levels, and takes the place of the traditional fingertip prick method many diabetics will be familiar with.

nikita diabetes monitor© Instagram
The Strictly star often shows off his diabetes monitor

When Nikita's monitor has been on show, be it on TV or in shirtless snaps on Instagram, the dancer's fans have been quick to praise, commenting: "Thank you for getting people talking about T1D2," and: "Proudly showing off your Libre Sensor. Love it."

Ukranian-born Nikita was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child, and is likely to have contended with symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, extreme tiredness, blurred vision and cuts and grazes that take a long time to heal.

WATCH: Strictly’s Layton Williams steals the show with first nines of the competition

As well as taking glucose readings, the sensor will also alert if their glucose readings are too high or too low. It needs to be changed every 14 days, with wearers saying the application of the monitor is less painful than the traditional finger prick.

Nikita has not spoken about his diabetes publicly, however in January 2022 he set about raising money for a charity that supports the disease. After testing positive for Covid and having to isolate, the dancer live streamed from his hotel room in honour of Diabetes UK, raising over £1,300 for the charity.

MORE: Strictly star Layton Williams supported by fans following candid plea: 'I’m trying to handle this with a smile'

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