The Dexcom monitor strategically placed on the back of Kelsey Kelley’s arm is like a secret code to the other 1.6 million Americans who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D), that she also lives with this autoimmune disease. Kelsey was diagnosed just after her fourth birthday right before Halloween. Fast forward 23 years, Kelsey is now 27 and has experienced many of the highs and lows of living with diabetes. “Being a diabetic is a challenge,” she explains, “that effects not just me, but everyone around me.”
Kelsey does not let T1D stand in her way. In fact, she is a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at Boston Children’s Hospital, a full-time nursing student and a member of Teamsters Local 25 as a listed union mover for American Moving and Installation Inc. working on projects like Encore Boston Harbor, Bose and Suffolk University. Kelsey is one of just a handful of women working as a commercial mover and is respected by her fellow crew members for her work ethic and can-do attitude. Although Kelsey is quick to share that she doesn’t want to be seen differently or treated differently at work for having diabetes, along the way, co-workers have learned more about the disease while working beside her and have become part of her unofficial T1D support team.
Now, in her final semester of nursing school, this self-described hands-on, people person has her sights set on being a pediatric nurse. “Because of all my experiences living with T1D through my childhood, I find that I am able to connect with my patients on a level that not many others can reach. It’s an incredible feeling when I can help my patients and their families. It’s just one small way I can help give back.” The ability to connect with not only the patients, but also the parents, may very well be Kelsey’s super-power as a nurse.
While there is not yet a cure for this disease, there have been many advancements made to help lessen the burden of the day-to-day tasks diabetes requires. As Kelsey explains, “You don’t get a break from diabetes. It’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We don’t get holidays, time off or vacations. But it is doable, especially with the love and support from everyone around me. It has shaped who I am today, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”
With November being National Diabetes Awareness Month, Kelsey teamed up with American Moving & Installation Inc. to raise funds for JDRF. Kathleen Rowell, CEO/Founder – and Kelsey’s mom – pledged that American Moving & Installation would match every donation received during the month of November. We’re thrilled to share that Kelsey was able to raise $7,200 and with that being matched, the total donation being given is $14,400! This couldn’t have been done without all the amazing donors, and Kelsey is so incredibly grateful for all the kind words and generous support!