I will remember September 7, 2005 for the rest of my life. I was 16 years old and like most teenagers, I felt invincible. I was on the varsity volleyball team, played in my high school marching band, and was involved in countless school activities. I had a lot of friends and knew the majority of the 2,000 students at my school. My mom, Debbie, and dad, Fran, and my brother, Alex supported me in every thing I did. But none of that could protect me from being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, T1D.
At 16, I felt angry that I was stripped of the life I once knew. Many of the emotions I felt, frustration, animosity, resentment, were not typical feelings I felt up to that point in my life. It was almost as if I was grieving the loss of a life I knew I would never have again. But as time passed, I got used to the many injections, finger pricks, and doctor appointments. That was my life now. I knew if I sat around and felt sorry for myself, I would be letting T1D win, and that was not something I was prepared to do.
Almost immediately after I was diagnosed, I heard about JDRF. I was given a Bag of Hope and Ruby, the teddy bear with T1D, quickly became my best friend. My mom even made her a volleyball jersey to match mine. I was number 13, she was 13.5. A month after diagnosis, I participated in my very first Walk to Cure Diabetes at the Sacramento State Capitol. It was amazing to see 5,000 people in attendance showing their support of T1D. Although I knew only a handful of people at the Walk, I felt the dedication and love from everyone who was there that day. I remember thinking to myself, if an organization like JDRF could put on such an amazing event, I needed to get involved and see how I could be a part of finding a cure for the disease I live with each and every day.
Six years, ten months, and thirty days of T1D, four years of college, two years of interning for JDRF and a semester of college in Australia later, and I am now working for an organization that I have always known I wanted to work for, JDRF. Although a huge part of my life changed on September 7, 2005, what has never changed is my passion to make a difference and be a part of finding a cure for type 1 diabetes. I am proud to be a part of the T1D family, even though admission to the club is a huge price to pay. I told myself when I was diagnosed that I was not going to let T1D run my life, and I never have. I have not let living with T1D get in the way of anything that I ever wanted to do. I come to work every day hoping that one day I won’t have to come to work any more. Not because I don’t LOVE my job, but because what I would love even more is to live in a world where people do not have to live with T1D.
JDRF Staff Member