There I was starting my second year of college with all of my life planned out in front of me, not letting anything change my plans, not even my type 1 diabetes. I had a plan to be a doctor, continue volunteering as a counselor at a camp for children with type 1 diabetes, and not letting anyone tell me otherwise. Until one day that all changed when someone very near and dear to me told me I need to attend a conference for young adults with type 1.
At first I was taken aback, attending a conference for type ones to gain more support just seemed so unneeded. Did people think I needed support? Did I seem like I needed help? I still do not know, to this day, the answer to those questions but I do know that attending that conference changed my life.
In 2012, I attended my first young adults conference for type ones called, DTreat and there I found my best friend. I learned so much more about myself than I could have imagined. I went in hesitant but came out with so many new friends and ideals on my diabetes. We learned about things like alcohol, stress, and relationships. Along with meeting some really cool people like Iron Andy! DTreat had changed me into a new diabetic and a new person with so much more perspective on life with and without my diabetes.
While there I learned way more about myself than one could imagine. I learned that I have a deep love for diabetes education and support. Needing support does not need you need help or are struggling but really its just a free pass to be friends over a common life struggle that then can form into so much more. Now days all of my close friends are diabetics that I have met through programs like DTreat. I went from being that girl who had diabetes but didn’t let it be overly known to that girl who is diabetes. Everything I do generally has some relation to diabetes; bettering my care, planning a program, seeing my diabesties, training a diabetic alert dog, and many others.
Since then I have been to many more leadership and young adult conferences for type ones that have shaped me and made me question my life plans like no one could believe. Some of those have included Students With Diabetes, DLead, and more Dtreat conferences. And yes if you can imagine that girl who started her sophomore year to become a doctor as mentioned in the beginning of this article has changed her major 5 times since then. I will now be graduating in May with a public health degree and starting my master in public health leadership degree in August. That girl who wanted to be a doctor now wants to create programs nationwide for all young adults with chronic diseases.
I have turned a negative connotation of ‘diabetic support’ into my life goals to help every young adult have the same opportunity I have had to gain that knowledge that I have gained through young adult conferences. I have grown to be a director of DTreat and could not be any more thrilled to be doing it!
Now it is your turn to experience this great conference in the way I have, not because “people think I needed support” or “you seem like you need help”. Attend because you deserve to come grow yourself and meet incredible others just like you, dealing with their disease everyday like you do, and not letting it hold them back one bit!! DTreat 2015 will be July 10-12th in Boise, Idaho. Find out more at www.hodia.org/events.