Fahina's Story

Fahina's story really inspired me, I never knew how much of a risk Tongan's had of getting diabetes. One of the things that I connected with is that you don't have to give up eating what you normally eat like ice cream or chocolate you just need to balance it with something healthy. Diabetes is all about balance, in a way you could say its like walking on a balance beam, if you lean too far to one side you start to stumble but if you are fast enough you can bring yourself back upright. The key is to balance your foods, and your exercise. Play video games, they are fun but you also should get outside and take a nice long walk with your family or friends, make a habit of it because your habits become your lifestyle and as we all know some habits are hard to break.

John's Story

John's story has inspired me to keep fighting diabetes. He has been effected by it for a much longer time than I have. Never once have I seen him stop fighting diabetes and that encourages me to do the same, and never stop fighting.

Press Conference at the Columbus Library

Today I spoke at a press conference promoting the opening of the new campaign The Faces Of Diabetes. This is what I told them:

Men and women, young and old, you and me. We are all affected by diabetes whether it is you, family, friend even your friend's family. I am here to tell you how my life is affected by diabetes.

It was a hot and sticky June evening, we had all just eaten dinner at my Nana and Papa’s house. My mom started to feel nauseated. My Nana had had diabetes for over 20 years so she checked my mom’s glucose, it was a lot higher than it should be. When we came home my mom scheduled an appointment with her doctor. When she got home from the doctors she had been diagnosed with diabetes.

Turns out she may have had diabetes up to 5 years before she was actually diagnosed. This was not much of a surprise because of her family history. After that day all of our lives changed.

We ate out less, used more vegetables in our cooking and got more exercise. I like playing Dance Dance revolution and you get exercise from that. When I found out about all the changes that had to be made I got scared. I didn’t know what diabetes really was at the time. All I knew was that people I knew had it.

In the same summer on July 26th my Nana passed away from complications of diabetes.

Now I know that diabetes is a disease but I am a Scorpio and Scorpios hold grudges. I was mad that my Nana had died because of it so I wanted to do something to get revenge.

The next year when I was in 6th grade I started my Girl Scout bronze award on diabetes awareness. I put up posters with interesting facts and “know your risk” fliers in local places. In doing this I not only educated the public, I educated my family and myself as well. I was then able to better understand what diabetes was and what my mom had to do to keep her diabetes under control. 2007 was the year I became involved with the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The event was Step Out for Diabetes, I ran t-shirts for walker check in.

I am committed to help fight diabetes and doing all that I can to prevent people from getting it.

It is 2009 and I am now 14. I am still a girl scout and I am working on my silver award. I have a blog that is used to collect stories. The theme is “What inspires you to fight diabetes?”

I have interviewed people with a camera at step out and I have had people submit stories to my website, Inspiredbydiabetes.blogspot.com.

I think by creating this blog people will see what others are going through.
These stories don’t have to come from someone with diabetes. It can come from a friend or family member that is close to them. People who have diabetes need to understand that they are not alone and that there is hope. Every day I try to be as healthy as I can and I encourage people to do the same.

Let’s fight diabetes together.

Talking to a camera was kinda scary but I know that i am getting the word out. I also got the American Diabetes Association Teaching Award for educating the public about diabetes. The interviewer asked me how I got involved and how diabetes affects me. I told her that it was because of my mom and my nana. Thanks for all the wonderful support!


Tell Your Story

Elli - Inspired by Her Mother

What's your name?

What's your inspiration?
My beautiful mother inspires me to prevent diabetes. She was diagnosed 32 years ago with Type I diabetes and, in recent years, has been hit hard by the disease. My mom raised my brother and me on her own and she took every precaution to ensure her diabetes was under control. Unfortunately, my mom's diabetes is so advanced and she has had numerous health problems that were unable to be prevented. She lives each day with an unmatched strength and optimisim that inspires me to do as much as I can with my own life. Even with her declining health, my mother still has the priorities of a selfless mother: to let her kids' dreams come true.

Although it is hard to be away from her (I live in Utah to go to school and she is home in Colorado), she encourages me to follow my dreams and continue to go to school, no matter how sick she gets. Her selflessness and encouragement inspires me every day. Whenever I get down, I think about my mom and how much strength and beauty she radiates even in the face of this ugly disease. I think about the sacrifices she made so I could be happy and healthy.

What's one lesson you want people to learn about diabetes?
One person with diabetes affects an entire army of others. Because of my mom's diabetes, my grandma has donated her kidney (for a transplant in 1999), my aunt has taken her in her home so she is closer to the better doctors in her neighborhood, and all her friends from various parts of the country have flown in to take care of my mom. It seems everyone in my mom's life is knowledgable about the disease, which is the first step to preventing diabetes.

I think the best and most effective power is knowledge. The more people learn about diabetes, the more managable it becomes. The more people you have in your life that support you after you've been diagnosed, the fear and trauma will subside. You have to gather your loved ones and teach them. Everyone has to learn together and diabetes has to be a team effort in order for it to be controlled, in my experience. All the people that love my mom the most know how to calculate insulin levels or take blood sugars.

Little things like that make my mom's condition more managable for her.

Step Out

On September 26th I was at Step Out For Diabetes walk. I collected some stories thanks to you who came my project is becoming an overwhelming success. While I was there I met some really cool people with very interesting stories. I also had over 1000 fliers with me that day, and I maybe came home with 500. Thanks to all who helped me and also to Grant. He has helped a lot with this and I wouldn't even have a blog without him.

Inspired by a community of support

What's your name?

What's your inspiration?
Inspiration is an interesting word. What truly inspires us… Some would say that inspiration is the act which causes our mind to reach unusual activity or creativity. While I am very interested in a cure I know now that my diabetes has had a profound impact on my life and in choices I make. Because of diabetes I have reach out to hundreds of lives and hopefully assisted them through hard times.

Throughout my life I have had many experiences that assisted me in “getting back on track” when I fall off the wagon. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic for over 15 years now and continue to struggle with it daily. Most recently, what has truly inspired me was an invitation to go back to a diabetes camp in Nevada as a counselor. The first thought was do I really want to spend a week of my vacation going to this camp for kids… I am truly blessed and happen to have more then enough vacation so I decided sure why not go.

I found a community of support. People who had experiences the same as mine and could assist me in challenges I was going through while at the same time I was able to assist them with challenges they are going through. It is this collaboration of ideas, methodologies, and systems which produces individuals who can manage their chronic illness.

Then there was after… When I say after I am talking after camp and I found I did not have the support group I just had. I became more active in looking for a support group here in Utah. What I did find was education groups, educators, doctors, and so on. All of which are amazing in their own right but really did not help me find the same sense of community. So I went back for a different weeklong camp and then another. I have been to 4 camps in the past year and they are amazing. To help me fill my time I have been going to support groups and noticed they were doing the same education that I have received for the past 15 years. Not to say new advancements in technology are not brought up, because they are, but it is the same type of stuff.

Another Diabetic and I have been talking after the classes and decided we wanted to have a group for Type 1 Diabetics for a few reasons. The first being it does not exist. The second is we want a group which is activity based. We believe through the activities will allow people to open up become friends and then more comfortable to talk about what is really going on in their lives. We are at the beginning stages of creating the new “Injection Connection” for teens and adults. I am hoping we can include the true design of this new group here once it is more formalized.

What's one lesson you want people to learn about diabetes?
So what does all of this mean? Well I have found the more active I am in the community the more I actually care about being a good example, helping others, and taking care of myself. It is when we act as a group we have more power than one can imagine. I would like to end my long winded post with the following… In managing any chronic illness (for me Diabetes) Henry Ford was correct when he said “if you think you can then you can. If you think you cannot then you can’t. In either case you are correct”. Lets all think we can and together we can live a healthier life while we look for a cure!

If you have type 1 diabetes and want to assist in the creation of the Injection Connection, have ideas for activities, want to join once it is more formalized please feel free to reach me at jeffrey.r.r.rands@xo.com or 801-928-9070 (txt ok).

Inspired by my family

What's your name?

What's your inspiration?
The thing that inspires me most to control my diabetes is my family. When I was diagnosed with diabetes 3 years ago it meant a lot of changes for me and for my family. We didn’t go through the house and throw out all the junk food, but we didn’t buy more when it was gone. We had been moving towards a healthier diet over the last few years, but we still found ourselves eating fast food fairly regularly because of our busy schedules.

The biggest change for me was that I stopped drinking soda and made healthier choices at lunch time. My family is very helpful and supportive. We have all learned a lot about controlling my diabetes. They both walk with me in the evenings. My teenage daughter doesn’t ask to have a lot of snacks in the house that I like and shouldn’t eat. My husband always makes sure that we have some carbs and lots of non-starchy vegetables at meal times. They both watch to make sure that if my glucose is getting low I eat something, even when I don’t feel like it. Whenever I start to feel like things are out of control they are always there to help me get back on track.

What's one lesson you want people to learn about diabetes?
Know your risk and know the symptoms. If you think you might have diabetes see your doctor and get tested. I was fortunate enough to have my diabetes diagnosed and treated relatively early before I had any complications. I’ve heard too many stories about people who find out they have diabetes only after it causes serious complications like a stroke, vision impairment, neuropathy and even death. One thing that people need to know about diabetes is that putting off the diagnosis won't make it go away and not knowing might kill you.

Kjazz interview

On September 11th I was interviewed on Kjazz news at nine. This was a very fun experience for me. The night before the interview I talked with myself and thought about important things I would need to say like what I was doing. Why I was doing this and were my blog was. For the interview I was representing my Girl Scout troop, My family and the American Diabetes Association. Since I represent my family by just being me I decided to wear a Step Out shirt and my Girl Scout vest. Some of the questions I was asked were why am I collecting stories. I am doing this for my mom and my Nana is how i replied. It was very scary knowing that all of my state could be watching me but once I was done I knew that what I said was sure to draw some attention to my blog and I just hope that get some stories after Step Out on Saturday September 26th. I will be collecting stories there so I hope that soon there will be some stories on my blog.

Silver Award

My name is Gen and I am working on my Girl Scout Silver Award. I am trying to spread diabetes awareness so I am collecting peoples stories on what it is like to have diabetes or what it is like to live with someone who has diabetes. These stories will be used for an educational purpose so that people understand that diabetes is affecting people all over the world.

My life is affected by diabetes and that is why I am working on this project. My mom has diabetes and my Nana died of complications from diabetes. So please help this good cause and tell your story.

Collecting stories at StepOut SLC, UT

Will you be at StepOut this year? It's on Saturday, September 26 and we'll be walking from This is The Place Monument to Utah's Hogle Zoo! Check-in starts at 8:30 AM and the walk itself starts at 10:00 AM.

I will be there for sure. This year is special though because I'll be collecting your stories there! I want to know why you walk at StepOut. Is it for a friend or family member? Do you do it for yourself or to set an example? What inspires you to StepOut?!

Ginny's Story and Q&A Service

Ginny Burns is a local nurse who has quite the story. She has worked with people with diabetes for the last 20 years and helps the American Diabetes Association and Utah Association of Diabetes Educators. Plus she has type 1 diabetes for 40 years!

You can ask her questions about diabetes in Utah by visiting her site -- Ask Ginny about Diabetes.