A Note From Exec-

A Note from Exec:

Vice President, Sarah Gibson-

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Sarah’s first Athens JDRF Walk- 2010 (7 months after diagnosis)

“You have Type 1 diabetes; you and your mom need to head to the hospital right now. There’s no time to go home and get anything. They’re waiting for you in Atlanta.” Getting checked out of 10th grade Literature started the whirlwind of a day that changed the rest of my life. Getting my diagnosis did not affect me as most would expect in this scenario. I sat in the hospital bed with countless doctors, nurses, and caretakers coming in and out to talk to me, answer questions, and teach me how to manage diabetes without much emotion. I didn’t cry upon receiving the news; I had a numb exterior and just wanted to go home so that I could go to my Festival for band class. I have a somewhat different experience than most when it comes to my diagnosis, since I was diagnosed as a teenager and had to alter my everyday actions and thoughts to incorporate this new obstacle. I do not see Type 1 diabetes as a “curse” or a “death sentence” in my life. I do see it as an annoying obstacle course that does challenge me at times, though. I feel lucky that I have been given an opportunity to make a difference in the diabetic community, and hopefully the world.

As a sophomore in high school, my classmates and I had been told that we needed to find our career path and decide what we wanted to do with the rest of our lives. My career choice changed multiple times as I weighed the pros and cons of each life path and I strained to imagine how the rest of my life would go. I knew that I wanted to help people and work with children but those two aspects could apply to so many careers, but I had a little help focusing when I received my diagnosis. I thought about being a veterinarian, since I loved cats, but soon realized that I would have to put down animals which turned me off. I then went to psychologist, but I am not very good at giving or receiving advice so that career was quickly marked off the list. My career choice kind of fell into my lap when I was admitted to CHOA (Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta) and as I learned about diabetes and how it effects the daily lives of many children and adults. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I decided that Pediatric Diabetes Education would be the journey I would embark on, but I know that it was soon after leaving the hospital with my extensive knowledge of this disease. I want to be that person who is telling the newly diagnosed boy or girl that everything will be okay and that I have been in their shoes- and I am thriving. Hearing advice and tips is easily trusted and taken to heart when you feel like that person has first-hand knowledge, in my opinion. I am currently hitting many bumps and curves in this journey towards my dream career helping people and working with children, but I know that it will soon be worth the struggles and that I will impact so many lives. I am thankful for the diabetic community that I am now a part of and the many relationships I would not have if I were not diagnosed. While educating about Type 1, I hope to influence people like I was almost 5 years ago and instill hope in the children and families impacted by Type 1.

-Sarah Gibson,

Class of 2016, Vice President

The Campus Tour: A Diabetes Perspective! We did it!

The Campus Tour: A Diabetes Perspective

On Sunday, October 26 at 1PM. Dawgs for Diabetes, a Chapter of the College Diabetes Network hosted the first Campus Tour for families with high school students impacted by Diabetes at UGA. 21 Families attended, and over 30 volunteers made this event possible.

Posts from Mindy, Abbey, David, and a T1D Mom who attended the tour.

Why Have a Tour Like This?

“The Campus Tour could be used to spread the word about Dawgs for Diabetes and the College Diabetes Network so that families knew there was an organization waiting for them. Because the College Diabetes Network is all over the country, future students could be connected to CDN through other chapters, the organization as a whole, or feel inspired and start a chapter of their own if their college does not have one. Another hope would be for future UGA students to know that Dawgs for Diabetes is waiting for them when they get to college. Teens tend to be the group who get a little “lost” in the Diabetes community at this crucial point in their lives, and we all need to be reminded that we are not alone. As college approached, many of our members began to think about what was next; unanswered questions, changes in doctors, a new place, not living at home, large lecture classes, getting medicine, overall Diabetes management, and so much more.

This tour could be an inspiration for us and others. Diabetes does not have to be a limiting factor in our lives, but it can be motivation. We all already had to grow up quickly as children and then teens living with Diabetes, but here comes college, an opportunity, to grow as a person, and show the world what we are capable of. Many of us remember that scary and exciting transition as college approached, and we wanted to help ease everyone’s minds. We aren’t here to say it isn’t hard or irritating at times, but that is very possible. College is an opportunity to grow, learn about yourself, expand your opportunities, meet new people, and (comfort your parents that you can take care of yourself). I personally found college to be an excellent opportunity to blossom; I started eating healthier, I got more involved in what I wanted to do with my life, I found Dawgs for Diabetes, met a whole new circle(s) of friends, and I took charge of my Diabetes management. I became more passionate about Diabetes and its impact on Mental Health because I don’t think the world always accounts for this. We also must remember that we are stronger because of this disease even if we do not always feel this way. Many of us accomplish so much, surpass the odds and the predictions, follow our dreams, and explore the world.” – Part of an open letter in the campus tour packets, Mindy Bartleson, President, Class of 2015

 

“There Will Never be a time or Place”… like College

“College is not like high school. In many ways it is a lot harder, but it is something that everyone should have a chance to experience. It will not be easy. Your grades may not be as high as they were in high school. At some point, you may realize that you want to change your major, and you will wonder how it will affect your career path or if your options will be limited. You may have to deal with difficult experiences while you are away from your family. Balancing school, sleep, social life and other obligations is not a simple process. But there will probably never be another time or place where you have such easy access to so many resources whether educational or social. There is so much that happens on or near this campus like sporting events, music, guest lectures from well-known speakers, service opportunities, conferences and so much more. You will meet so many people who will impact you in many ways. You will learn what types of people make you a better person, and you will learn to identify those who you may not connect with very well. You will probably experience more growth during this time than you ever have before in your life. As someone who does not have diabetes, Dawgs For Diabetes has helped me to better understand something that does not directly affect me but has impacted the lives of friends and family members. I understand how important it is to raise awareness since many people do not understand what diabetes is. Let’s keep working to educate people until we have a cure!” Abbey Giese, member, Class of 2015

 

“Imagine the Impact over Four Years”

“What this tour provided was insight into the college experience for both parent and child. This tour was not meant to show off the school, or point out any of its great academic or athletic achievements, but meant to give peace of mind to parents by easing their concerns for their soon-to-be college student who might be overwhelmed with, well, just about everything. By attending the campus tour, not only were previously held questions and concerns going to be answered, but attendees were provided the comfort of knowing there is a family awaiting you at college. We wanted to let attendees know that you are not alone in the fact that you have diabetes and are new to college. There will most likely be clubs and organizations similar to Dawgs for Diabetes no matter what college you decide to attend, and on top of that, the College Diabetes Network is always going to be there for you.

It seemed anyone and every one of the students who was asked to help out with the Campus Tour was eager to jump on board before we were even done explaining. The buzz about this tour caught the attention of people with diabetes, and their supporters, from all across Georgia. Among the 30 total volunteers, we had an author of a well-known diabetes book, a medical student from Georgia Regents University in Augusta, a public health graduate student from Emory University, and many, many more. The word about The Campus Tour: A Diabetes Perspective spread around quite well and made its way into the schedules of 21 families.

Overall, the tour could not have gone any better. From the beginning to the end, those who attended seemed to learn so much and were extremely thankful for the opportunity to attend such a great event. The responses to the surveys and kind words sent to us following the conclusion of the tour only emphasized how much of an impact the College Diabetes Network and Dawgs for Diabetes had on a large group of people in just one day. Just imagine what the impact of both organizations is over four years of college!” David Paul Weinzierl, member, Class of 2016

See David’s full Post here

“A Wealth of Knowledge”

“I don’t know if you will have a survey or feedback questionnaire come through, but I wanted to let you know we are relieved to find out about the College Diabetes Network.  You have reduced our anxiety regarding T1D and college life.  Also, it is obvious the time and talent put into the emails, links, and webpages that were developed solely for Dawgs for Diabetes.  I don’t think you or the administration behind this forgot anything. The other T1D college kids that joined us during the walk were a wealth of knowledge, about campus life, camp life, their experience in D4D.  They were all so friendly and welcoming, “ -T1D Mom who attended.