I'll be taking part in this year's ONE Walk to raise funds for the millions of people living with and affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D). The money I raise will help JDRF fund critical research to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people's lives until no one has to fear developing the disease.
Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin - a hormone essential to the ability to get energy from food. It strikes both children and adults suddenly and changes life as they know it forever. It cannot be prevented and there is no cure.
I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 4. This disease has had an immense impact on my life. Throughout the struggles of dealing with highs and lows, T1D has taught me life lessons such as discipline, courage and perseverence. Although it has not been easy, organizations such as JDRF help to make my life- along with the millions of other people living with the disease- a little easier.
Being a child with T1D was anything but easy. Having a constant reminder that you are different is challenging, especially at a young age. Things like having people ask me if my insulin pump was a beaper and the stares from people when they saw me giving myself a shot made me want more than anything to be "normal" like everyone else. I struggled with my diabetes mangagement because I didn't want to be different; I didn't want to be alone.
Last summer I had the privilege of interning at the JDRF Georgia Chapter. It was here that I connected with so many wonderful people who helped me see that I am never alone in this fight. Having this support has helped me to take back control over my life and my body. I will be victim to no disease.
My experience at JDRF has also brought to light the different people that are affected by T1D. The worried parents and concerned siblings made me realize that this disease does not just affect those that have it, but also their loved ones. I have never been more thankful for the love and enduring support from my parents and sister. The late-night lows, never-ending doctors' visits and frequent hospitalizations have made my parents the strongest people I have ever known and the understanding and support from my sister has made me a stronger individual.
The JDRF ONE Walk is a way to bring together family, friends and communities in order to find a cure for a disease that affects so many lives. Please support me and donate to my Walk fundraising campaign. Your gift will make a difference for millions of people affected by this devastating, life-threatening disease.