Meet the Wonder Girls
The Wonder Girls are a group of newly diagnosed T1D girls aged 8-13 that do fun activities together to form friendships and support each other in their type one journeys. Ragan Arrington is one of the founders of the young girls group, The Wonder Girls, along with her friend and co-founder, Hannah Self.
We wanted to hear a little bit more about the back story of the Wonder Girls and how it became the group that it is today so we asked Ragan to share her T1D story with us. Keep reading to see how Ragan turned a T1D Diagnosis into something incredible and inspiring for others!
My diagnosis story is not much different from most. I was ten years old, innocent and untarnished. I was mainly focused on my elementary school crush, the founding fathers, what I would be eating next (hopefully something with a very high sugar content), and the newest Justin Bieber song. I went to the doctor, got my blood sugar tested, and was sent to the hospital where I would stay for three days trying to figure out what in the world diabetes was and why it sounded like the name of a James Bond villain. At such a young age I was terrified of needles and the overwhelming responsibility I would have to undertake seemingly by myself. I had never met anyone with type one and was overwhelmed with feelings of loneliness and helplessness. My family and friends were supportive and loving, but
“I really did not have anyone that truly understood what I was going through.”
I craved to hear someone, anyone, tell me that everything was going to be okay. That I could still play soccer with tubes attached to me. That I would still be able to participate in school band with bruised fingers. That I would live long enough to go to high school prom because I literally thought that I was going to die from low blood sugar or any other number of complications I was told I could have.
Eventually I came to realize all these things for myself. Life went on, but the feelings of isolation did not. Kids at school would stare at me as I checked my blood sugar and pretend to vomit when they saw the tiny drop of blood on my finger. The nurse would page me on the school intercom when it was time for my insulin shots or to test my blood sugar, humiliating me in front of my peers. I missed tremendous amounts of class and had to scramble to keep up with notes. I just wanted a friend who knew what I was going through.
I am not the kind of person to sit dormant. Not only did I want a cure more than anything in the world, I wanted to provide for young girls what I did not have at that age. Therefore, I created the Wonder Girls. The Wonder Girls is a group of newly diagnosed T1D girls aged 8-13 that do fun activities together to form friendships and support each other in their type one journeys. I run it with my fellow T1D and great friend, Hannah Self. We make slime, go swimming, rollerblade, bowl, and watch movies together.
“But this is not a support group. This is an empowerment group.”
Although these young women are already brave and strong, I want them to become independent and powerful women together. I want them to know that they can overcome anything, including type one. I want them to have friends that understand them and can be there to help each other in a way that others cannot. After seeing the new Wonder Woman movie with the oh so hunky Chris Pine (yes, I am quite the Pine nut) and the incredible Gal Gadot, I knew that I had found the right name for my group: the Wonder Girls. Even though we do not wear fashionable armor, unfortunately cannot run at 60mph, and I presume none of us can dodge bullets, we can encourage and support each other to be confident and strong despite our diabetes.
To say that I am proud of them is an understatement. I am amazed. To be as strong, mature, and responsible as the Wonder Girls are at such a young age is truly incredible and admirable. One of my favorite memories of the Wonder Girls was when we were rollerblading at one of our meetings after treating our lows with some delicious and well-deserved slushies. Suddenly, all of us joined hands and began skating as one big beautiful diabetic chain. As everyone was laughing and tumbling together, I could not help but tear up just a little. To see these girls have what I never had, to see them just being kids and enjoying themselves in the company of others who truly understood, was amazing. I am forever proud and amazed by these “wonder”ful young women, and I hope that they feel the same about themselves.
Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story, Ragan! We are so impressed by the Wonder Girls and you and Hannah’s drive to encourage and support these young women. Having people that understand what you are going through at the stage of diagnosis (and any stage through your T1D journey) truly makes a difference.
If you are interested in joining the Wonder Girls please reach out to our office at Greaterwesterncarolinas@jdrf.org.