AYUDA (part 1 of 2)- Thrive with Diabetes Instead of Just Survive with Ayuda

D4D would like to thank Aly, Camp Kudzu and AYUDA volunteer, for connecting us to AYUDA through Jon, and for Jon to connecting us to Melanie and Chris who have been involved with AYUDA for years. It’s a small world. Melanie is creating a CDN chapter at Washington University in St. Louis, and Chris is getting in touch with other students at Boston University to start a chapter there.

To Learn More about AYUDA

Thrive with Diabetes Instead of just Survive with AYUDA
With Chris Noble

*The next article in this newsletter came from a phone interview with Chris Noble and information from the AYUDA website.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you view Diabetes?
Chris has been thriving with Diabetes for over 20 years. He feels lucky enough to have had a lot of opportunities like access to insulin, education, a support system and much more. He doesn’t feel that Diabetes has been a limiting factor in his life. He wants to THRIVE instead of just survive with Diabetes. It is all about perspective. (For instance- He was the captain of his cross country team and a tri-athlete.) Instead of having a condition that is debilitating Chris wants it to be a source of inspiration. Diabetes has been nothing but an opportunity for him. If you look at it intelligently, knowing and using resources, you can live a long successful life. This might not have always been available 20 years ago, but in the United States and in other countries this has changed, but there’s still so much more to be done.

What is AYUDA? What’s great about AYUDA?

Means “Help” in Spanish

The AYUDA Story-
“In 1984, José Gabriel, a six-month-old boy in Quito, Ecuador, went into a coma and was diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes. Despite the efforts of his parents, both of whom were physicians, José could not stay healthy. His parents spent most of the family’s income on insulin, but to no avail. Eight years later José lapsed into another coma. With no other option, his family saved money and sent their son to the U.S. for treatment where they discovered that a lack of education is as dangerous as a lack of insulin.

AYUDA was founded in 1997 by two teenagers with a vision inspired by the plight of José Gabriel. Since then, AYUDA has grown significantly in capacity and reach to become an organization that is recognized as an international leader in the development and delivery of diabetes education, advocacy and youth empowerment. AYUDA’s successful growth is a product of the diligence and dedication of its volunteers. AYUDA’s volunteers range from high school students to health care professionals. The majority of volunteers that participate in AYUDA’s programs are students in college or graduate school. (AYUDA Website).”

Guiding principles-
“1.A lack of education is as dangerous as a lack of insulin.
2. Youth can serve as powerful agents of change.
3. Understanding is just as important as doing.”

Chris: AYUDA started in Ecuador 16 years ago with a local foundation camp. They train young leaders, provide education series, information, etc. The program in Ecuador is now at the point they have surpassed AYUDA’s training. The leaders there now implement everything and AYUDA is no longer in a direct teaching role. (They are leaving Ecuador). AYUDA wants the same thing for the Dominican Republic. AYUDA hopes for a fully functioning institution like Ecuador in the Dominican Republic. The next steps are in Haiti, they’ve just started there.

“AYUDA is working with” FHADIMAC, a local Diabetes organization based in Port-au-Prince in 2012. Since then AYUDA has facilitated an international exchange program for youth with Type 1 diabetes in Haiti and neighboring Dominican Republic. (AYUDA Website)” The women who leads it is amazing, her family has been advocating for diabetes health throughout Haiti for generations. During the earthquake in 2010, her foundation kept running, and it became well recognized at local as well as international levels. They primarily offered education before the earthquake but became a main health care center then. The foundation has a great infrastructure in education, and they are going to empower young leaders through AYUDA’s summer camp program. By changing how they think about their condition, the young leaders can now help others as well.

“AYUDA doesn’t focus on people with Type 1 being weak. Diabetes is not a defining factor. It can be a source of inspiration. (Chris)” Empowering people and allowing them to be their own leaders is effective for making a difference. Education and teaching people is one of the best things people can do. AYUDA has a great a model for interacting in various countries. Sometimes just sending doctors is needed, but it is a quick fix. In emergency situations, there is not necessarily time for education. Immediate action and supplies are needed, but effective change requires something else. When people come in they cannot always relate. Once those people leave, the education and work doesn’t stay. AYUDA doesn’t give out supplies or replace the work people are already doing. They work hand in hand with the people there and local partners. They train with, work with and educate with the community through lesson plans, preventive actions, management actions, curriculum, Type 1 and Type 2 information, and much more.

What is the biggest thing you have gotten out of AYUDA?
Some of the biggest things Chris has gotten out of AYUDA are the connections that he has made in the United States as well as internationally. He also likes to see others living with the same condition as well as living successful lives. He feels like a “medical anthropologist.”

Why is it important to be involved?
“We know it best. We live with it every day. (Diabetes), it’s always on our mind. (We) are the masters of our own conditions. (We should) share our knowledge and experiences with others who might not have it.” Chris almost feels obligated. We have abilities and talents, and we should share them. What often happens with Diabetes Advocacy makes him cringe because we are not suffering. He does not think he is suffering. He wants to change the stigma.AYUDA Pic
Chris is 24 years old and from San Diego, California. He is currently a Masters in Public Health candidate at Boston University studying Global Health and Pharmaceutical Access. Chris has participated in a number of AYUDA Programs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti and is acting In-Country Liaison for the DR programs assisting in program development, recruitment and grant writing throughout the year. Chris has been living with what he calls his “Live”-abetes for coming on 20 years and believes that everyone should have the opportunity to thrive alongside their condition as he always has.


To check out the rest of our newsletter, click here –> September 2014 Newsletter

Thanks from all of us at D4D!



Why is it Important to Give Back and Get Involved? (Camp Kudzu and JDRF)

Why is it important to give back and get involved?

Many members were once campers at Camp Kudzu, and many of us now attend Camp as volunteers. Many of us are also involved with JDRF in various capacities.

But these two great causes we care about are only the tip of the iceberg.
A lot of us are involved in other aspects of the Diabetes community, not just Camp and JDRF; shadowing, volunteering, blogs, CDN, ADA, education, speaking, and so much more. We are also involved in areas that are not related to Diabetes.
As an organization, we find it very important to be involved and give back because many of us have benefitted from various organizations. We also enjoy it!

Photo at Camp Kudzu Session 3 in August

Camp Kudzu


Mindy, President (left), and Sarah, Vice President (right)
at Camp Kudzu 2014

Mindy’s favorite part about camp is giving back to the place that she grew up with, and of course Arts and Crafts (TIE-DYE) . She hopes that future campers will get what she got of camp; family, inspiration, lifelong friends, and so much more.
If you are looking for a wonderful volunteer opportunity, keep Camp Kudzu in mind for this summer! Visit the link above the photo for more details!


JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes (One Walk)
When: October 25 at 1PM
Where: Sandy Creek Park, Athens, GA

“The JDRF Walk is an impactful way to raise money for critically needed type 1 diabetes (T1D) research and show your support for the millions of people affected by this serious disease. (JDRF Website).”
Visit the link above if you would like to donate to JDRF or join the Dawgs for Diabetes Team! Any donation makes a difference! Invite your friends and family to the walk and to donate as well.

jdrf athens 027
Last years’ exec at the walk.

Danielle, former Vice President (bottom left),- Her favorite part about the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes (becoming the JDRF One Walk) was seeing so much community involvement. Outside of her sister, she didn’t know much about the disease, so to be around the “diabetic” family and seeing how these kids are able to cope with a chronic disease so young was an amazing experience.

Meet the 2014-2015 D4D Exec Board!

Meet the 2014-2015 Exec Board!
We are so excited to announce the executive board for the 2014-2015.We are excited to welcome three new exec members this year. Sarah and Mindy cannot wait to work with all of the new old and members, and the new members of exec!

Mindy Bartleson, President
Hometown: Flowery Branch, GA
University of Georgia, Class of 2015


Mindy plans on graduating in May 2015 with a Bachelors Degree in Social Work and a minor in Sociology. She has been involved with D4D since she was a freshman and very involved since she brought it back in the winter 2013. She has served as President since then.
Diagnosed March 8 2000, Mindy has been thriving with Type 1 Diabetes since she was 7 years old BUT. Before anything else, she is a college student, runner, photographer, traveler, writer, and so much more who just happens to live with Diabetes. She is actively involved in JDRF and Camp Kudzu – ever since she was diagnosed. She has blogged about her life and interaction with Diabetes. She’s an expert at being awkward and getting lost on occasion. Mindy also has unconditional love for a good cup of black coffee. She thoroughly enjoys singing songs that relate to a blood sugar reading or feelings towards Diabetes. She LOVES anything Disney or Harry Potter related.
In the future she hopes to be an advocacy lawyer, writer, speaker, and so much more who wishes to see the world while never really growing up with music, a good book, coffee, and diabetes supplies by her side.

Why is Dawgs for Diabetes Important to Mindy?
Diabetes is such a huge part of her life, and being involved in the Diabetes community is how she “deals” with the highs and lows of Diabetes. She also feels that D4D is a great way to be prepared for her future self. She believes that D4D and the College Diabetes Network are great ways to spread awareness and education about Diabetes. Most importantly, she wants everyone to have access to a Diabetes community because she’s been lucky enough to always be involved since she was diagnosed, and she wants to make sure that Young Adults don’t feel lost in the Diabetes community.

Sarah Gibson, Vice President
Hometown: Bethlehem, GA
University of Georgia Class of 2016


Her major is Dietetics and she plans to continue her education and get her Masters degree. Her career goal is to work with children as a Pediatric Diabetes Educator to be that helping teacher for when those children’s lives change but will be an example how diabetes does not hold us back in life.
Sarah has been involved with Dawgs for Diabetes since her Freshman year, and has loved every minute of it. The connections that she has made led her to volunteer at Camp Kudzu and avidly fundraise for camp and JDRF.
Sarah was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on March 15, 2010 and has been thankful for her wonderful doctors and especially her family throughout these changing times.
Her essentials to get her through the day are her Crystal Light, her cat-Stella, coffee, supportive and loving family, her inviting bed, her boyfriend (who does a wonderful job getting her mind off the hard stuff with corny jokes), and finally, her diabetic community who is always there to give advice and support when she feels like she is struggling.

Why is Dawgs for Diabetes important to Sarah?
Sarah appreciates that Dawgs for Diabetes provides links between college students, children of Georgia, doctors, and even people all over the country impacted with Type 1 and provides support for all these different people. Without Dawgs for Diabetes, she wouldn’t have met some of the wonderful people who are involved with D4D and would be lost in the big campus at UGA.

Gina Huang, Community Relations
Hometown: Johns Creek, GA
University of Georgia, Class of 2018


Gina is a currently a freshman and is a Biology major on the Pre-Pharmacy track. She plans to apply to the University of Georgia College of Pharmacy. Her goals are to become a pharmacist and to travel to various other countries, especially those where the health care system can be improved dramatically, to help those in need. During her travels to other countries, she hopes to study how health care systems and services differ from area to area.
Although she is not directly affected by Diabetes, she has had family and friends impacted by it. Through her participation in various health clubs and organizations and her volunteering in hospitals, she was able to witness the effects of Diabetes on those who have it. One of her goals she had when she joined the club was to become educated about Diabetes and to have a better, deeper understand of Diabetes. Just this year, she joined organizations such as Medlife, Hall Council, and various others. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the Georgia mountains, reading a good book, and visiting museums with family. She also enjoys working with kids, whether that is through reading programs, tutoring, or camps.
This is her first year being involved with this club. Dawgs for Diabetes is a club that she is very passionate about because of its ability to bring people together while spreading the knowledge of Diabetes. The time period between elementary school and college is an extremely important period for those with Diabetes, and it is a time where many changes can occur. She believes that what Dawgs for Diabetes is doing for the community is a meaningful and fulfilling way to spend her time. As of now, she is looking forward to becoming more active in Dawgs for Diabetes and to participate in all the events this year. Lastly, she cannot wait to meet all the other members!

Riley Jenkins, Freshman Liaison
Hometown: Canton, GA
University of Georgia, Class of 2018

Riley plans to graduate in 2018 with a Bachelors degree in both Biology and Psychology. After graduating, Riley plans to attend Medical School to become a physician.
Riley was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 11 and has had Type 1 for over 7 years. Her experiences with Diabetes include going to Camp Kudzu (where she met her current roommate), raising money for JDRF, and speaking to her high school faculty and staff about Diabetes as part of her senior project. At UGA, in addition to Dawgs for Diabetes, she is actively involved in the American Medical Student Association of UGA, shadowing, and volunteering. Her other interests include exploring new restaurants, catching up on episodes of Prison Break, House, or Real Housewives, traveling, spending time with family and friends, and cheering on the Dawgs!
In the future, Riley plans to be a doctor, speaker, and lifelong educator of Diabetes.

Why is Dawgs for Diabetes important to Riley?
As a freshman, experiences of transitioning to college with Diabetes are fresh on her mind. She is excited to share these experiences with fellow freshmen and prospective students. Riley hopes to learn more about the Diabetes community in Athens and to gain experience helping others make the same transition.

Nidhi Aggarwal, Freshman Liaison
Hometown: Statesboro, GA
University of Georgia, Class of 2018

grad senior nidhi official 4x3

Nidhi is an academic scientist and free-time artist, recent high-school valedictorian, and an aspiring pre-medical student, but most importantly, current freshman actively attempting to discover herself in the midst of Bulldog Nation.

Why is Dawgs for Diabetes Important to Nidhi?
Enthusiastic to begin getting involved with extracurricular activities on campus, Nidhi looks forward to contributing to Dawgs For Diabetes’ important message by serving as a co-Freshman Liaison for the organization during this academic year. Although she does not have diabetes, she has been familiar with the condition through family history of the temporary, lifestyle-based Type 2 Diabetes, as well as through her Type-1-diabetic friends, the experiences of whom have shown her glimpses of the daily routines of diabetics and have solidified her interest in further pursuing the topic as part of her collegiate goal to improve her understanding of the complexities of human health. She is especially fervent to begin community-outreach-based programs through Dawgs For Diabetes, believing that the most crucial facets of current diabetes-related issues are centered on public education and awareness of the condition, distributing facts rather than leaving people’s perceptions of the condition to their imagination, as well as continued support towards youth affected with diabetes to instill confidence and contentment in the otherwise confusing series of lifestyle changes caused by diabetes. Nidhi could not have asked for a better and more cooperative group to be collaborating with this year, and she is full of hopeful visions of what all can be accomplished when a dedicated group such as Dawgs For Diabetes unites for a wonderful cause.

Nidhi plans to graduate from the University of Georgia as a member of the Class of 2018, with degrees in Microbiology and Chemistry, and continue her education in medical school as an aspiring physician.


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