Using Diabetes to Make a Difference

So many blessings can come out of the hard things in life that we go through. Challenges makes us stronger, and better equip us for difficult things we face in the future. They build character, and teach us things we would have never learned the easy way. My diabetes diagnosis was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to go through, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Another huge blessing that has come out of hard times is the friends I make through them! Many of my best friends have diabetes, and I wouldn’t have ever met them if I didn’t have this disease in my life! I sent out a tweet this morning, asking my followers what the best thing about their diabetes was. Almost every single one said something about the people they have met and the connections they have made because of it! I can personally say that the friendships I have formed because of diabetes are priceless. They are worth every finger poke and every site change I have had to do, and I wouldn't trade them for the world! 

One of the most rewarding things I have gotten from my experience with diabetes is the passion it gave me for making a difference! I think it’s a natural desire to want to “make a difference” or “change the world” before one dies, but sometimes we struggle with trying figure out how we are going to do so. Diabetes gave me something to be passionate about, and also the experience to be able to empathize with people who were going through the same thing as I was!

That is not only true of diabetes, but of any other challenge we face in our lives: we share a special connection with others who are going through the same things. We can share advice, since we have already gotten through what they are trying to battle. It’s an awesome way to figure out how you are going to change the world, and to not only survive adversity, but also use it to empower yourself and others!

Soooo…mixing both my mention of the amazing friends I have made through diabetes, and my being grateful for the chance to serve others because of my diabetes, this blog post is a shout out and dedication to one of my best diabetes friends, and best friends in general, who has used her experience with diabetes to make a difference: the amazing Hadley George!

This week I am visiting Hadley in Cincinnati for the second time this year! She started an organization called Type One Teens! The group of teens (obviously, living with T1D) gets together every month to do an activity, or just hang out!  She invited to come out in November for their huge annual event, Believe in Blue, which is a gala/dance to celebrate diabetes awareness month! All the Type One Teens invite their friends to come learn about diabetes, but also to dress up, eat food, and dance the night away! It was one of my favorite events I have been to all year. I had the time of my life!

Hadley, who is only 16, has some insanely impressive event organizing skills, and I respect her so much for how mature she is! Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of spending time with her knows that she has wisdom far beyond her years (and beyond most of our years, for that matter). Most importantly, she has passion! Diabetes, and the struggles she's had because of it, has driven her to make a difference in the lives of teens who are experiencing the same thing. 

I am back in Cincinnati again this week, and got to go to one of Type One Teen’s normal events (not as big as Believe in Blue, but still totally awesome)!   We spent a few hours at Starbucks, talking about life, diabetes, and writing letters to newly diagnosed teens for JDRF to include in their Bags of Hope (Hadley is just and endless source of awesome ideas).

It is so inspiring for me to see someone who is so much younger than me have such a positive attitude about this awful disease that has been placed in her life! She is the perfect example of how we can not just get through difficult times, but thrive in them, using them to change our own life and the lives of those around us! 

Whether you start your own organization like Hadley, become a JDRF youth ambassador, wear your insulin pump at Miss America, or come up with your own creative idea about how you can help and inspire other diabetics, I challenge you to DO IT!  Use your diabetes to make a difference!

All my love,
Sierra Sandison

Miss Idaho 2014

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