Mountain West Youth Ambassador Inspired to Connect Teens with T1D

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Mountain West Youth Ambassador Zoe shares her type 1 diabetes (T1D) story and why she’s inspired to help other teens with T1D find friendship.

Hello! My name is Zoe and I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 9 years old. I am now 15 years old and a freshman in high school.

When I was first diagnosed, I felt alone and scared. I was the only one in my family with T1D, and my parents (who I thought knew anything and everything) seemed to be at a loss when it came to my diabetes. It was the first time in my life where I was learning the same thing as my parents at the same time. Of course we learned very quickly, and things got easier by the day.

Here’s a little bit more about my life with T1D so far: I wore an Omnipod for 3 years and loved it, but I was working so hard to manage my T1D daily, l I decided to switch to the Tandem. I was scared because I didn’t want to wear a tubed pump, but I got over my fears, and now I love it. I am a very active person, so managing sports with my T1D has always been a struggle, but I am learning everyday.

Something that I never had that I think is vital is friends with T1D. Of course, the support I get from family, friends and doctors is extremely helpful and important, but having a friend with T1D is extremely different. Being able to talk to someone who knows exactly what you are going through feels so different compared to talking to someone who can only try to imagine what you go through on a daily basis. Until very recently, that is what lacked in my T1D life.

Being a teenager is hard on its own. Being a teenager with T1D is a hundred times harder. I want to create a resource where teens with T1D can make connections with other teens with T1D. My hope is to create a place where teens can come to meet people and get support from kids who know exactly what they are going through. I want this to be fun and uplifting. My vision is to meet monthly, alternating between online and in-person meetups. Ideally, we would make plans to go eat at different restaurants; spend a day at adventure parks; hang out in people’s homes; or meet up for fun weekend activities, such as ice skating or bowling.

If you are between the ages of 13 and 18 and looking for other teens with T1D to connect with, join JDRF Mountain West Youth Ambassadors and Chapter staff for T1D Teen Time!

We will meet online every other month for conversation and connection. In between, Zoe and staff will help coordinate in-person meetups for those living in the Denver-metro area. Find more details and register for our first online meetup here.