1.25 million Americans, One Month For Diabetes Awareness
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Health and Wellness

1.25 million Americans, One Month For Diabetes Awareness

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

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1.25 million Americans, One Month For Diabetes Awareness
Erika Szumel

According to JDRF.org, approximately 1.25 million Americans are living with Type 1 Diabetes. JDRF is an organization that is working towards a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. Their work effort and research for the disease continues to grow and it is an organization that I will always be grateful for.

1.25 million people. That might not sound like very much, but it most certainly is.

If you ask around your community or around school, you will find that many people are faced or affected by diabetes in one way or another.

I want to raise awareness about this during this month in any way I can since November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.

When I was diagnosed at the age of 4, I was so fortunate enough to have a mother with Type 1 Diabetes as well. This meant that I did not have to learn these things alone. I had someone there to guide me, to mentor me, to tell me that I was so strong. But other than my very loving parents and supportive family, I felt alone. I could not relate to the other kids around me. I was forced to think about serious things at a very young age.

I grew up pretty fast. I had to know when I wasn’t feeling well and what to do about it.

I had to speak up for myself and explain to people around me that I needed to treat a low blood sugar or that I needed to go a little slower because of a high blood sugar.

I did not attend Diabetes camp until I was 16, so from the age of four up to that point, I really had NO friends with Type 1 Diabetes. I really felt different in school. I was embarrassed to test my blood sugar in front of other kids, in front of teachers, or anyone. I made sure my shirt covered my insulin pump (which was clipped to my waistband) at all times.

I want to raise awareness for this disease because if it has not affected you yet, you will cross paths with someone in your life that it has, or that has the disease themselves. I want YOU to be able to understand THEM. Trust me, people with Type 1 appreciate that.

I want to raise awareness for this disease so that I can feel like “I had a low blood sugar” or “I was coming down from a high blood sugar” are valid reasons to miss something, be late, or have to retake exams. Right now, the people around me make me feel like they are simply excuses. There are plenty of times that I have wanted to explain to a professor that I did not feel well during an exam and would like a re-take but I fear what the professor’s response will be. The general public does not understand what Type 1 Diabetes is, so I assume that they will say, “Yeah take it again” or, “Well, you seemed fine, I couldn’t see anything wrong”.

I want to raise awareness so that kids in school from kindergarten up through college can feel like they can depend on their classmates to know when something is wrong, unlike how I feel. The feeling is still there.

I don’t want to have to worry about myself in a public place, when I’m dropping to a dangerously low blood sugar. I want to be able to say to someone next to me, “I’m having a low blood sugar, please help me.” I want the general public to have some background on my disease so that dangerous lows and dangerous highs can be avoided, but most importantly to avoid death.

"Death? But Erika, you can’t die from Type 1 Diabetes."

Sadly, friends, that is something that is constantly going through my mind. A severe low or high blood sugar can kill me. I want you to know this so that we can avoid the situation together.

Does that change the way you feel about the disease now? To know it is life threatening?

Let’s focus on learning and growing together. I want Type 1 Diabetes to be a team effort. I want everyone to know more about this disease.

Here are some links you can use to educate yourselves on Type 1 Diabetes:

http://www.jdrf.org/

https://beyondtype1.org/

https://diatribe.org/

In addition, if you’d like to follow along with me on Facebook, you can read my posts everyday for the entire month, which all have to do with Type 1 Diabetes! November 14th is officially National Diabetes Day!

Friend me: https://www.facebook.com/erika.szumel

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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