Welcome to YLC One on One: a series of interviews with people who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Here members of our community talk about how T1D affects them, how they manage it, and what they have accomplished despite it.
Chaila Fraundorfer, YLC Vice-Chair
Interview by Garrett Jensen, YLC Member
GJ: How long have you had T1D?
CF: I have had T1D for 7 years. I was diagnosed my junior year of high school. No one in my family has a history of diabetes so my diagnosis was quite a shock and adjustment for my family!
GJ: What is your role in YLC? Why did you join? And what goals do you have for the group?
CF: I am the Vice Chair of the GCP YLC. At first I joined the YLC to meet other people living with T1D. Before joining, I didn’t know anyone living in DC who was a diabetic so I saw it as an opportunity to expand my network and get more involved in the T1D community. I want YLC to be a strong community for people living with T1D and those interested in learning more about T1D. It is important to me that the group not only hosts social events, but is also involved in current research, advocacy efforts and new technology advances.
GJ: What has been your favorite YLC event?
CF: We recently hosted a Coffee and Conversations event with artist Shelley Lowenstein and her husband Doug Lowenstein at the Touchstone Gallery. I loved hearing about current research advances and seeing how Shelley translated beta cells into art!
GJ: You were recently awarded the Mosaic Taiwan Fellowship and are traveling to Taiwan for two weeks. Can you explain a bit more about this fellowship?
CF: The Mosaic Taiwan Fellowship is an exchange program for young professionals from the U.S. and Canada to gain firsthand experience with the Republic of China (Taiwan). During the fellowship, I will take part in team building and leadership development exercises, meet with top Taiwanese government officials and engage in cross-cultural dialogue.
GJ: What tips do you have when traveling with T1D and what is the most challenging aspect?
CF: Always bring extra supplies! When I traveled to Impala, Kenya for a month I packed two of everything I needed because I knew that the closest hospital was 8 hours away. Having backup glucose kits, insulin and needles gave me peace of mind that I wouldn’t run out of something halfway through the trip. Calculating carbs abroad has always been tricky for me. I make a point of eating the local cuisine when I travel, but it can be difficult to know how much insulin to give for an unfamiliar dish. To avoid severe spikes or lows, I talk with locals about how they prepare the dish and what kind of ingredients they use so that I can get a better understanding of the carb count. Not only is this a fun way to improve my cooking, but I found that this is a great way to meet people – since everyone loves to talk about food!
GJ: What is your T1D management philosophy?
CF: “If there is a will, there’s a way!” I have tried to never let T1D or anything else stop me from pursuing my dreams. I view diabetes as just one part of me, but something that does not define who I am.
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About JDRF YLC
The Young Leadership Committee (YLC) of the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac is a group of young professionals dedicated to raising awareness and funds for JDRF. We host various networking and social events that attract young professionals in the area.