Welcome back everyone!
Today is Monday, June 29th and I am preparing myself for this short, but busy week due to the holiday this weekend. Everyday as I come into work I always think to myself how I got here and the long journey I have traveled (literally). Many of you may not know, but since I was diagnosed I have always been very involved in the diabetes community back home. My first year with diabetes, my family and I participated in a nation-wide bike ride, the Tour de Cure. I was nominated the Youth Ambassador our 3rd year participating in 2008, which led to many more opportunities in my community. My bike ride team, named Team Tyler, consisted of more than 50 family members and close friends, and we raised an astonishing $26,000 that year. About a year later I was introduced to Sanofi-US, a pharmaceutical company which my representative that sold my insulin pump had told us about. At the time they had a pilot program for children & parents of T1D’s to lead empowering and interactive support groups for fellow kids and parents dealing with T1D. Since becoming an A1C Champion (my title as a youth mentor), I have had the great pleasure and opportunity to travel all around the country leading support groups, with either one or both of my parents by my side. Going on 7 years now, I have been to about 20 different cities, from Corpus Christi, Texas, to Dothan & Birmingham, Alabama, and to even Fargo, North Dakota (not as weird as the movie Fargo, fyi) just to name a memorable few. Since I turned 18, I began another program within the support groups to travel alone, and was provided hotel and chauffeur accommodations to and from airports, because I’m still not even old enough to check into some hotels or rent a car. All of this has just been an absolute amazing experience and I cannot express enough through words how life-changing it has been, and how lucky I am to have done these things over the years.
Within this time period, my family and I founded our own non profit organization called D.R.E.A.M (Diabetes Research and Education Advocates of Michigan). D.R.E.A.M. has partnered with the University of Michigan to fund cutting-edge research programs at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in which our proceeds support research projects that my doctor, Dr. Menon was leading. All the support I have had since my diagnoses in 2005 has really had the most positive impact on myself and my outlook on my disease. I do not know where I would be today without the day to day support of my parents, my sister Allison, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and everyone in between. On top of all of my friends who have stood by me and supported my campaigns and fundraising events, and even you guys reading my blogs, you know who you are ;).
After all of these positive things that have happened because of just one unlucky occurrence when I was 10 years old, it had really made me realize that having type 1 diabetes isn’t the worst thing in the world. Yes, it can be very annoying and repetitive at some points but dealing with this is just something I have learned to incorporate into my daily life. I am generally good about handling my diabetes and staying in control, which is why I truly enjoy reaching out to fellow T1D’s and share my stories and experiences with them at these support groups.
I feel everything I have done over the years has led to this internship at JDRF and I want to thank Students With Diabetes for giving me the opportunity and to be a member of SWD. As I wrap up, I just want to say something that my dad always said to me growing up and that is, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity”. I think he was right.
As always thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more posts and check out the pictures tab for more photos!