Why I Camp- LauraKate Buttrill

Why I Camp- LauraKate Buttrill


I camp because I was a camper. I remember how much camp meant to me and how much I grew from those experiences. I had so many firsts at camp: first time ever changing my own site, first time putting my site in a new place, first time going out of my comfort zone. I made so many friends at camp, friendships I still have today. Yes, I had a diabetic sister, but camp was somewhere where everyone had diabetes and you had this common connection. You were in the minority if you didn’t have type 1 diabetes! Every year, I always looked to the week of camp, it was, and still is, my favorite week of the year. Once camp ends, I start the countdown again! I want my campers to have as great of a time I had as a camper! I camp for my campers!

To Learn More About Camp Kudzu

To Volunteer at Camp Kudzu


Our February Newsletter !


What have we been up to?

D4D is on Instagram!

Follow us at @dawgs4diabetes



Dawgs for Diabetes represented the College Diabetes Network on CNN’s Accent Health. D4D Members were filmed in November, and the clip went live in January all over the country. Shortly after, the clip started playing in doctor’s offices around the country. According to the CDN Newsletter, CDN received a record number of people contacting them for information and to start chapters. Check out the clip here!


Night of the Arts

Mark your calendars for March 26 from 5:30-7:30! Come Support Camp for a Cause with Camp Twin Lakes at UGA and their event Night of the Arts at Terrapin. Camp Kudzu has two sessions at Camp Twin Lakes. Many of our members are also members of Camp for a Cause. For more information check out their Facebook event! There will also be a silent auction and the Get Cooler for Camp Painting Competition. Dawgs for Diabetes’ members Elise Roche and Laura Gillespie are painting a cooler for Dawgs for Diabetes!



Mindy Bartleson, president since January 2013, was selected as one of UGA’s Amazing Students. She was also selected as an Outstanding Senior Leader through Pandora Yearbook, and she be attending a banquet with other outstanding senior leaders in March.


UGA Miracle’s Dance Marathon


From Left; David, Mindy, and Meagan

Congrats to UGA Miracle for Raising $683,251.15 for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) at their 20th Annual Dance Marathon February 21-22, 2015. Many of our members have a history with CHOA; getting diagnosed there as children, and many pediatric endocrinologists are located there.

Many D4D members are involved in Miracle in various capacities. We would love to recognize Meagan Will, Class of 2015, for surpassing her fundraising goal, and raising $569. She also spent all 24 hours dancing for the kids (FTK). Meagan has been involved in Miracle for all four years while also serving on committees; Fundraising Freshman Year and Hospital Relations her other three years. Meagan currently interns at Safe Kids through CHOA.


JDRF GA’s TypeOneNation


Mindy and Trevor

D4D also attended TypeOneNation on February 21 in Atlanta. We had a table to spread the word about what we do and our Campus Tour. Mindy and Trevor also lead the Teen Breakout Session with Teens ages 13-18. They talked about life and Diabetes, Netflix, theme songs, and they played “Where the Wind Blows.”

Our February Newsletter !

A Note from Exec- Riley Jenkins, Freshman Liaison

A Note from Exec- Riley Jenkins, Freshman Liaison

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The first year at UGA is definitely overwhelming in many ways. As a freshman, I speak from experience by saying the first semester is like a whirlwind. There are so many things to be involved in, classes to take, professors to meet, and things to experience in Athens. It can be quite a challenge staying organized and not letting opportunities pass you by all while staying on top of classes and learning to live on your own. One of the most important things I have learned this year is to be more flexible. I have learned that it is okay to change plans, and I have several times. I feel that many students, like myself, have trouble accepting anything less than perfection or that plans must be adjusted sometimes, but freshman year is a great time to learn to do just that.

With that being said, I have involved myself in organizations, classes, and programs that I am passionate about. For example, in the fall, I enrolled in an FYOS class that I knew I would enjoy: Communicating with People with Disabilities taught by Dr. Kevin McCully. Through this class, I met people with a wide range of disabilities and learned many things while forming relationships with the guests, my classmates, and Dr. McCully, whom I still keep in touch with. I have always been passionate about disability advocacy, as I learned to be an advocate for myself at 11 years old when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Being my own advocate at such a young age taught me valuable leadership skills and gave me an insurmountable drive.

As a Freshman Liaison for Dawgs for Diabetes, I gain valuable experience by spreading awareness about Type 1 Diabetes, connecting with students at UGA and beyond, and addressing our members during our meetings. I work closely with the executive board to create, implement, and improve programs for students on campus and the community. I enjoy being able to deliver news about our exciting achievements and upcoming events while gaining public speaking experience. As an organization, we pride ourselves on being organized and efficient. This is largely due to the hard work of our executive members. I hope to help continue this trend throughout my years here at UGA to allow Dawgs for Diabetes to continue to grow.

Dawgs for Diabetes is an outstanding club that seeks to make college just a little bit easier for students with Diabetes, like myself, by providing a strong community that truly cares about the wellbeing of all students. Not only do we provide resources for current students, but our club also hosted our first tour this past fall, The Campus Tour: A Diabetes Perspective, for prospective students. The tour was even more of a success than we had imagined. As a Freshman Liaison, I had the pleasure of being a speaker and joining one of the discussion panels for this event. Besides speaking on a panel, I also assisted in planning the event while at the same time preparing for the JDRF Walk that same weekend. I know just how scary it can be for both students and parents to begin the college journey, but it is even scarier to do so with a chronic disease or disability. That is why I enjoy being a leader in Dawgs for Diabetes so much; it has given me a home away from home.

Through Dawgs for Diabetes, I have also had many opportunities to give back to the community. We served as volunteers at the annual JDRF, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s, Walk for the Cure at Sandy Creek Park in the fall, hosted the campus tour, started a mentor program, and lead dorm programs to spread awareness about Type 1 Diabetes, among many other things. One of my favorite Dawgs for Diabetes events was a freshman dorm program that I helped lead with our president. We lead an interactive program explaining Diabetes and the myths associated with it and also addressed many questions. Most of the students did not know about Type 1 Diabetes, so it made me feel good to know that I was able to make a positive impact on fellow students. I hope to continue to be involved in the dorm programs, as spreading awareness about our disease is very near and dear to me.

Besides Dawgs for Diabetes, I am also involved with Camp for a Cause, an organization with ties to Camp Twin lakes, a camp for children with disabilities and chronic conditions, and the Pre-dental Society at UGA. In my spare time, I like to volunteer, paint, attend sporting events, spend time with family and friends, explore new restaurants, and check out the latest movies.

In my professional career, I hope to continue to be a strong leader in my community. I am a biological sciences and nutrition science student with hopes to attend dental school after graduation. Because of my Diabetes, I recognize just how precious health really is, and I want to give back to my community by serving them as a health professional and teaching others the importance of health in its entirety.

Riley is studying biological sciences and nutrition science, Class of 2018. She plans on attending Dental School after she graduates undergrad. Follow Riley on Instagram and twitter @stonewalljenkins


Our February Newsletter!

Grateful for my D4D Family!

Grateful for my D4D Family!


Because I was previously very active in healthcare organizations in high school, I was searching for one upon arriving in Athens. I do not personally have diabetes; however, several of my family members, including my childhood dog, were diagnosed with diabetes during adulthood. Once I discovered the great things Dawgs for Diabetes has done for UGA students and the community, I immediately emailed Mindy to join.

Since I have joined, I have participated in several events, most memorably the JDRF Walk. The JDRF Walk funds scientific research for better methods of treating and curing diabetes. When I was at Sandy Creek Park for the walk, I enjoyed meeting a variety of joyful people affected by diabetes. The event featured several local organizations and individuals that were all gathered to support the fundraising for JDRF and diabetes. In retrospect, it was surely a highlight of my first semester.

On top of the great things Dawgs for Diabetes does for the fundraising of diabetes, D4D also provides a home for students with diabetes, relieving the anxiety associated with treatment of diabetes away from home. The Campus Tour that we hosted in the fall allowed incoming students with diabetes to be guided by D4D members, making the students feel at home. For me personally, I’m very grateful for the D4D family because I have made great friendships and have been able to be a part of a change in people’s lives.

Will is an Exercise ad Sports Science Major, Class of 2018. Follow Will on Instagram and twitter @willdufoeee.

Check out our entire February Newsletter!

Dawgs for Diabetes February Newsletter

Check out our February Newsletter!!

Our February Newsletter !

A Note From Exec-

A Note from Exec:

Vice President, Sarah Gibson-


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.

Member Spotlight!

Member Spotlight

Most Involved Members

We would also like to take a moment to recognize our most involved members this semester. Not counting Camp Kudzu summer camps, these three members contributed over 200 hours to D4D this semester.

Laura Gillespie

Class of 2016, member since fall of 2012


“I joined Dawgs for Diabetes because I think its so important to spread awareness about T1D to people in the Athens area and to the students of UGA. Diabetes has been a part of my life for almost 18 years and it’s wonderful to see all of the people in the Athens community standing up for our cause. Dawgs for Diabetes is a fun way for me to spread awareness and stay connected to the T1D community. I am so thankful for the friends I’ve made through D4D over the past few years and for all of the great experiences I’ve been able to have! I can’t wait to see where Dawgs for Diabetes heads next, and I’m so proud to be a part of this organization.”

Laura helped us find new members at the activity fair. She volunteered at Camp Kudzu’s summer camp and fall family Camp. She attended the JDRF Walks in Atlanta and Athens, and she brought 18 friends to the walk in Athens. She created the JDRF letters and signs at our photo booths. She attended all our general body meetings, and she was a committee member. She raised over $300 for the JDRF Walk. She and her parents volunteered at the Campus Tour.

Trevor Blake

Class of 2018, member since fall of 2014


“The organization Dawgs for diabetes has been an incredible group to be a part of! I really enjoy that there is this community that I could go to and call upon no matter what problems I have in regards to diabetes or any college problems! They are family and I love them and I want nothing but for this group to the flourish and I want to be there every step of the way!!

Trevor helped us find new members at the activity fair. He was a CIT at Camp Kudzu this year. He attended the JDRF Walk Athens, and brought a friend to help with the photobooth. He helped create our faces of diabetes campaign. He attended all our general body meetings, and he was a committee member. He brought friends with him to meetings and social events. He helped with our first educational dorm program this semester. He helped spread awareness on World Diabetes Day. He also volunteered at the Campus Tour.

Check out Trevor’s interview in the Red and Black

Antonio Leonard

Class of 2017, member since fall of 2014

20141113_014539“In the beginning of my sophomore year in college, I knew that I needed to involve myself in some kind of extra-curricular activity. As I browsed through countless organizations, Dawgs for Diabetes grabbed my attention. Recently, my mother was diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. I honestly did not think much of the effects or symptoms of diabetes. When I joined Dawgs for Diabetes, I was touched to understand what my mother was going through. Since then, I have been open to help in any way to spread the awareness of diabetes. Despite spending only one semester since joining Dawgs for Diabetes, my involvement with diabetes will last a lifetime.”

Antonio attended all meetings this semester and social events, and he was a committee member. He brainstormed fundraising and awareness ideas with us. At the JDRF Walk in Athens, he was one of our members to assist with face painting in our family fun area.


Top Fundraisers

We recognize how important fundraising can be; for Diabetes non-profits and to help us run. Without our members assisting in fundraising through canning, bake sales, letter writing, emails, social media, and other means we would not have been able to reach our fundraising total this semester. Our funds this semester went JDRF and the Campus Tour.

Haley White

Class of 2018, member since fall of 2014

            Haley helped us raise over $1,300 for the JDRF Walk and for D4D. After completing her first semester of college, she offers advice to future college students, but also to anyone who is busy and living with Diabetes.

photo.PNG“As my first semester of college came to and end, I thought about my new life as a diabetic college student. First of all, I learned that taking a four-day-a-week 8 AM class was probably not the smartest idea. I also took 16 credit hours, so I didn’t finish class each day until 3:20 PM. My days, to say the least, were long. So, I had to figure out a schedule: when I should eat; if I had time to eat; when I should be taking my long-lasting medication; etc. Though I was not concerned about coming to college with diabetes, I didn’t realize how obnoxious it would be once I got here. Because of my busy schedule, I barely had time to eat. Sometimes, I would have to cut studying time so that I could go grab a quick meal. Most of the time, however, I would skip a meal or two just so I could do work. Long story short, I never really had an eating schedule–it became a day-to-day thing. Through the craziness that it college, I learned that eating is probably one of the most important things (especially for a diabetic). So, my advice to anyone struggling with the same issues I had: carry a snack, ANY snack. Have an apple, some crackers, or even a half sandwich. That ended up being my solution to my eating-or lack thereof-schedule. All in all, try your best not to skip any meals; but if need be, carry some snacks with you to tie you over until the next meal.”


Other top fundraisers; Laura Gillespie, Mindy Bartleson, Riley Jenkins, Sarah Gibson, Meagan Will, LauraKate Buttrill, and Laura Greenich

D4D End of Semester Newsletter!

We have had a GREAT Semester! Check out recaps from this semester and our member spotlight!

Check out our End of Semester Newsletter!





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

Melanie’s AYUDA

*(The name Maria is the substitute for this newsletter)

Nine days away from my 12th birthday, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. At the time, I was very set on not changing anything about my life, so I never attended a diabetes camp or went to a support group. About five years later, I received an email from my endocrinologist encouraging me to attend an information session about an organization called American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad (AYUDA). By this point, I had come to terms with my diabetes and was ready to explore some ways to get more involved in the community. After attending the first information session, I was completely enthralled by this organization. I applied to be a first-time volunteer instantly and have stayed involved ever since.

As an active volunteer, I have been working alongside likeminded individuals and local foundations in Latin American countries to empower young people in those areas to take control of their lives with diabetes. Once in the countries, like Ecuador and the Dominican Republic, during the summer, we work closely with our local partners to put on diabetes camps for the local families who have children living with type 1 diabetes. At camp, AYUDA emphasizes the idea that a “lack of education is just as dangerous as a lack of insulin,” so rather than merely providing material resources, we work hands-on with the local families to teach strategies on how to properly manage and care for diabetes, which is knowledge they will retain for the rest of their lives.

On the last day of camp this summer (2014), I was sitting with my camper Maria in our classroom right before going outside to eat lunch. As she very well knew, she needed to inject her rapid-acting insulin. Maria had already come to two days of camp but still had never given herself her injection on her own. Earlier in the morning of that last day, I was working with her and told her that if I helped her with her injection this time, she will need to do it herself the next time. She agreed. Now, back at lunchtime, she would not take the syringe to do the injection herself. A couple other volunteers and I sat with her, encouraging her to take this next step in her self-control of her diabetes. Playing off of the 2014 camp theme “sé tu héroe” (“be your own hero”), I told her that she can be her own superheroine and absolutely has the power to take hold of her condition and not let it stand in her way. After about ten minutes of working her through the emotional aspect of diabetes, her nerves and fears, she agreed to do the injection herself. Slowly but surely she injected the syringe. With a smile ear-to-ear, she removed the syringe and gave me a huge hug. I told her how proud I was of her and proud she should be of herself. It’s moments like this one with Maria that keep me continuing my work with AYUDA and that help me keep up my own diabetes care, reminding myself that I have the ability to keep myself as healthy as I can. I was so fortunate to have been provided with excellent diabetes education and resources and to be able to see that I have been able to pass that on to strong and empowered young people throughout the world is incredible.

AYUDA works to empower others through education and hands-on interactions to be agents of change in their own lives. ¡Juntos Somos Más Fuertes! Together We Are Stronger!



I’m Melanie Goldring, a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis. I’m 19 years old, originally from Los Angeles, CA. I’m a psychology major and children’s studies and spanish minor, and in my free time I love to dance, do photography, and hang out with my friends. I’m extremely passionate about diabetes education advocacy and have loved working with AYUDA for the past 3 years.