I was diagnosed August 1st, 2003 at Children’s Hospital Boston. A year later I was introduced to Clara Barton Day Camp where I’ve made friends for a lifetime and learned to cope and find the strength to keep battling this disease. Camp helped me find my inner diabadass that has gotten me to where I am today. I am a junior at Lasell College in Newton, Massachusetts. Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Criminal Justice I hope to become a police officer in my community. I strive for the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
When I was in middle-school the Pop Warner Cheerleading director of my hometown denied me a spot on a team unless I got a letter from my endocrinologist stating that I could 100% participate in the sport because of my condition. She doubted me from the start because of my disease and I proved her wrong every step of the way. I haven’t stopped cheering since then. This year wrapped up my second season with my college cheer team. I couldn’t have been happier to take the mat with my amazing teammates. All heart, no fear, LC Cheer!
How do you inspire others?
I try and stay positive, educate, and advocate. “No, It’s Not a Beeper, It’s My Insulin Pump.” I don’t want the fact that I have juvenile diabetes to be the first thing that people know about me. Though it’s grey with clear tubing, and usually fairly visible clipped to my clothing, my insulin pump allows me to be a person with juvenile diabetes, not just a person battling an autoimmune disorder. For me, playing show-and-tell when someone points at my pocket and asks, “What’s that for?” is the best way to begin sharing basic diabetes information and putting an end to the stigma that surrounds T1D.
For almost 12 years, an insulin pump has given me the freedom to do the things I couldn’t have done as confidently on injections. Yet with freedom comes great responsibility. Over the years, I’ve pretty much become my own doctor and diabetes expert; treating highs and lows and being able to manage and properly use the medical device. My pump not only changed my life, it gave me a different one. And because of that, I don’t care who sees my little scars on my body, my insulin pump, or my pump site. Every “What’s that for?” or “Is that a beeper?” creates a teachable moment that I am honored to share with whomever is willing to learn.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
I remember being newly diagnosed with T1D and how it made me feel. I wanted so badly to hide my new “flaw” that was diabetes. As I have lived with this disease and grown to accept it, I have also grown to learn not to be concerned with other’s opinions of me. I’m not scared to test my blood sugar, take an injection in public, and wear CGM and pump proudly on my body for the world to see. I have nothing to be ashamed of and this new mindset has led to me being much more confident about myself in general.
How has diabetes contributed to forming you into the person you are today? Mentally, physically, or emotionally?
Diabetes had made me fearless, strong, and independent in every aspect of my life. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for the battle of diabetes.