When a child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it is undeniably life-changing. For some, the diagnosis is also motivating -- inspiring them to give back to the diabetes community in spectacular ways, despite their young ages. Read on to learn about five inspiring kids who are making a difference.
Devon C., 13, from California, has raised over $30,000 for diabetes research since he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes a year and a half ago. Last year, he and his family were the top fundraisers for the Walk to Cure Diabetes held at the University of California, Irvine. And this summer, Devon donated 200 teddy bears wearing medical ID bracelets to a local children's hospital, so that kids there would receive both a potentially life-saving bracelet as well as something to hug. Devon's long-term goal is to provide a bear and bracelet to each child at the hospital who's been newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Donations to raise funds for the project can be made online through the Children's Hospital of Orange County's website.
Photo credit: Miss Darcy Photography
Shortly after Haley M. of Florida was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2007 at age 11, she asked her family if she could hold a car wash to raise money for diabetes research. In 2008, she kicked off her first "Dollars 4 Diabetes Car Wash," and has held one every year since. Sixteen-year-old Haley has now raised over $42,000 for the American Diabetes Association through her annual car wash. Because of her tireless fundraising efforts, she was also named the Youth Volunteer of the Year in 2011 by her local newspaper.
In 2005, at the age of 12, Rachel T. of Pennsylvania was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Shortly thereafter, she began designing and selling handmade beaded jewelry featuring a silver "hope" charm that symbolized her hope for a cure. For each piece of jewelry sold, Rachel donated a portion of the proceeds to JDRF. To date, she has donated close to $50,000 to the JDRF Western Pennsylvania Chapter. Her new goal is to raise $100,000. Rachel's dedication to finding a cure has also led her to a career in medicine. She is currently studying pre-med at Emory University, having worked in the lab at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh over the summer. You can find her unique creations online at Rachel's Cure by Design.
Nine-year-old Carson M. of Idaho, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago, has invented a new device for testing blood sugar. In the "Invent Idaho" state competition, Carson created a prototype blood glucose meter that includes an alcohol swab to clean the user's finger. The project won "Best of Show" for the first- through fourth-grade division, and Carson and his invention were even featured on a national TV show this summer. He is currently meeting with patent lawyers to market his invention. Carson was also named the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes youth ambassador by the JDRF.
Logan G., 18, of Kentucky, is currently serving as the American Diabetes Association 2012 National Youth Advocate. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a child, and now hosts a fashion show called "Runway for Change" to raise money for diabetes research. In July, Logan attended the children with DIABETES® Friends for Life® conference, where she talked to attendees about Safe at School™, a campaign dedicated to ensuring children with diabetes are medically safe at school, which she is particularly passionate about. Logan also visited Camp Midicha in June, one of the Association's diabetes camps in Michigan, where she interacted and spoke with campers and parents. She has also testified before the Kentucky legislature about type 1 diabetes and advocated on Capitol Hill for diabetes research funding.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.
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