I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in August of 1997, weeks before my fourth birthday. I was lucky; it was caught early during a routine physical. I never got sick and there was no scary hospitalization. Because I was so young, my early days with T1D are a faint memory. I remember my first finger sticks, insulin injection and carrying my Rufus bear with me everywhere I went (he was my first friend with diabetes, after all).
Adjusting to life with T1D is a slow and daunting process. Being a young child, I was sheltered from the challenges my family experienced following my diagnosis. It “takes a village” and I was fortunate to have the support of my family, who worked tirelessly to manage my T1D and ensure I had a happy and healthy childhood. As I grew older, I took control over my diabetes and learned how to manage it on a day-to-day basis. I’m so thankful for all of the support I received in the early years and continue to receive today.
I like to say that I’m not defined by this disease. However, it is a big part of me and has undoubtedly helped shape the person I am today. T1D is unforgiving and it requires a certain tenacity and grit to manage. People living with T1D have greater responsibilities and a heightened awareness of themselves and the world around them. I wear my diabetes proudly and use it as a tool to make myself stronger and educate those around me.
When I reflect on my 23+ years living with T1D, I’m most appreciative for my robust support system and the ever-improving technology and tools that I was fortunate enough to have access to. JDRF plays a critical role in these areas, providing a support system for individuals living with T1D and their families, while investing heavily in research and therapies so that we may one day live in a world without T1D. I’m proud to support this mission.
In 2018, I joined JDRF Greater New England’s Young Leadership Committee (YLC). The YLC is a group of passionate young professionals who believe in JDRF’s efforts to cure T1D while finding ways to improve the lives of people living with T1D today. The YLC is dedicated to supporting and raising awareness for JDRF through various fundraising, networking and social events. Earlier this year, I was humbled and honored to take over as YLC President. I’m looking forward to carrying the group’s mission forward, so that together, we can beat this disease.
The Young Leadership Committee is a group of passionate and motivated young professionals who believe in JDRF’s efforts to cure T1D while finding ways to improve the lives of individuals living with T1D today. The YLC is dedicated to supporting and raising awareness for JDRF through various fundraising, networking and social events that attract young professionals in the Boston area. Members have a special connection to T1D—whether they live with the disease every day or are connected through a friend or family member.
For more information about the YLC, upcoming events, or how to join, please visit jdrf.org/greaternewengland/p/young-leadership-committee or contact Danielle Gaboury at firstname.lastname@example.org.