I am a teenager who never lets type 1 diabetes (T1D) slow me down, I love a challenge, I manage my blood glucose, etc. However, there are days when diabetes gets me down despite my best efforts to stay positive. Let’s face it, diabetes can be a drag and sometimes I feel a little bitter looking at all of my non-T1D friends eat what they want, exercise whenever they feel like it and never consider all of the decisions that go into those simple activities when I do them.
I do not want to have a pity party or dwell on the negative aspects of diabetes. What I find picks me up and keeps me energized in the face of challenges is not what you would expect (although I will admit that a shopping day with my mom does wonders!). What gives me energy and keeps me motivated to control my diabetes, and not have it control me, is helping others. The more I give, the more I seem to get back.
I started to really get involved with JDRF last year.
I was hesitant to do so at first, but after two amazing ski weekends working as a Junior Coach at Riding On Insulin, I was hooked on the concept of being part of the diabetes community and giving back. I remember how scared my family and I were when I was first diagnosed. I have come so far and I want to help others on the same journey.
At JDRF, I serve as a mentor to newly diagnosed children. I attend “Newly Diagnosed Night” to meet families that remind me so much of my family and me a few years ago. I have even worked a Health Fair at a mall in Staten Island with retirees from a VFW Hall.
I most recently volunteered at the JDRF Walk in New York City. I volunteered in the New Families tent and met so many newly diagnosed children and their families. It was great talking to them, showing off my Omnipod insulin pump (“Wow! No tube?!”) and just connecting with other T1s and T2s (loved ones of a person with type 1 diabetes) on a personal level. The DJ was playing amazing music, thousands of people and volunteers were walking around and dancing in their JDRF shirts or their fantastic team shirts, and I was right in the middle of it. Just me and everyone else, all there together to fight type 1 diabetes. No time for a pity party, when I am too busy helping others and helping myself.
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