When Patrick Haggerty was an active, physically fit 22-year-old, he had just graduated from Santa Clara University Leavey School of Business and was embarking on his first job in his chosen career, his future brightly ahead of him. He was also experiencing the classic symptoms of type 1 diabetes (T1D). “For months, I had felt absolutely horrible but I made up excuses, assuming the symptoms were normal for any energetic person becoming accustomed to ‘desk life’ at the office,” Patrick says. But the symptoms continued – extreme thirst, lethargy, nausea. “I was feeling especially sick one day and went to the doctor for a checkup,” he says. “When I asked him, ‘Can a person ever drink too much water?’ he decided we should test my blood glucose level and, shortly after, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.”
Like so many people who face this diagnosis, Patrick went through a range of emotions and reactions. He recalls his first thoughts after learning more about T1D and the daily regime of insulin therapy and finger pricks. “I was absolutely shocked that children would have to manage this disease during normal activities like recess, playing sports and sleepovers. The potential risks and complications of T1D are too severe for any child to have to worry about,” he says. Next, he was a little angry that in an age of technology and medical breakthroughs, a better method to manage T1D hadn’t yet presented itself. “I became determined do my part in finding a cure for T1D,” he say. His last thought was that he was lucky. ”I could have easily slipped into a coma, or even died,” he says. “This made me see the bigger picture.”
Part of that bigger picture would include volunteering for JDRF. Patrick wanted to get involved and make a difference. The perfect fit for him was to help grow the Young Leadership Committee (YLC) of San Francisco. He has enthusiastically served as Vice President for more than five years and is always recruiting new members.
“YLC is open to everybody. If you have T1D, have a friend or family member who has T1D, or would just like to learn more about how you can help a special cause –this is the group for you!” Patrick says.
YLC hosts a variety of fundraising and networking events, happy hours and other social events throughout the year, including Walktoberfest at the San Francisco Walk, and the After Party at the annual Hope Gala which will take place on May 30 at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco. “The Hope Gala After Party is not to be missed!” Patrick says. “This event fills up the dance floor every year. It is so much fun!”
Aside from all the fun, Patrick is very serious about the JDRF mission. “The most important thing I would like people to know is that T1D will be cured and it will be because of the people who helped raise funds or gave their time to raise awareness for this disease,” he says.
Patrick lives in San Francisco. He is a Senior Associate at SVB Financial Group and will be pursuing an MBA at UC Berkeley, Haas Business School in the fall.