Chapters

When I was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) a little over a year ago, I felt completely isolated. While I knew a few people in my personal life that had it, I never felt like I had a strong support system, which was both frustrating and lonely. I had my family and friends, but I needed someone who understood what it was like to live with something so taxing. Not only that, but there was so much that I still didn’t know or understand about having diabetes. Because I was diagnosed so late in the game, I didn’t have the opportunity to connect with other people my age that had the same struggles as I did at things like diabetes camps. So, I kind of just floated along with  the routine, not really knowing much about it.Then, when I was handed the position of president of my CDN Chapter at University of Wisconson Oshkosh I received an email that I was able to apply for the CDN Annual Retreat 2018. I filled out the application and debated whether to hit send because I was honestly nervous. Once I had been diagnosed more recently, I felt like whatever I...
I have been a diabetic for over 8 years. I was diagnosed as a small, shy eleven-year-old. My dad is also type 1 so I was used to seeing the needles, working a pump, treating lows, and the smell of insulin, but never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that one day all of those things would apply to me. I had my dad as my support system, or as we say, my “dia-buddy”, but I was the only diabetic in my grade from the time I was diagnosed until I graduated high school. In fact, it wasn’t until I got to high school that I even met another teenager with T1D, but seeing each other for 2 minutes a day in the nurse’s office wasn’t conducive to forming lifelong, mutually supportive friendships. My parents always wanted me to go to diabetes camp and pushed it pretty hard the first few years, but I was incredibly shy and still in a stage where I wouldn’t do anything unless my older sister was going! So eventually after years of me refusing, they stopped asking. I regret it though because I never got to meet kids my own age that were...
If somebody were to just look at the College Diabetes Network retreat without knowing much about it, they would see 25 diabetic students from 18 states that attend 25 different colleges flying, driving, and taking trains to Logan International Airport in Boston, MA. You would also see them awaiting Dan (whom we all thought was at least 65) for a five day retreat in Maine to talk all about diabetes. They would probably also consider us a bunch of Diet Coke and String Cheese addicts. Although all these things may be true, they only scratched the surface as to what our time together was truly about. They’re missing out on the connections, the understanding, and fun that went on and the community we built.I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 10. Not having a clue what the heck any of it meant, I was admitted to the hospital and put on an IV until I learned how to do injections before being released. Of course there was training in there but I left that up to my parents. From that day on I had always felt alone. Not from the lack of support my parents, family, and...
There I was, sitting between two strangers in the middle row of a van packed to the roof with eight other students, their bags, and low snacks. We were on our way to a cabin in the woods of Maine for the CDN Annual Leadership Retreat. I think the exact words running through my mind were, “What the heck am I doing?”.We were going on our tenth minute of excruciatingly awkward silence when a Dexcom alarm started blaring. My stomach dropped and my hand darted straight for my phone, like it always does when my Dexcom goes off in public, but when I pulled up the Dexcom app, it wasn’t mine that had gone off. A girl piped up from the back – “Sorry, that was me!” – and we all busted out in laugher.That was the first time in my nine years of living with T1D that I had ever heard a Dexcom alarm that wasn’t mine. I was sitting in a van full of strangers, but suddenly, they didn’t seem so strange, and diabetes didn’t seem so strange. In that second, I realized it was going to be a good week.And it was. It changed the way I...

After the Retreat 2018

What. A. Week.25+ unique individuals together because of one common link...type 1 diabetes.When I received an email containing the link to apply for the CDN Retreat, I originally ignored it.It wasn’t until I received an email from Dawgs For Diabetes, UGA’s CDN Chapter, stating that the deadline had been extended, that I actually decided to apply.To be honest, I didn’t think I would be chosen to go. I’m not in Chapter leadership and my involvement thus far in CDN hasn’t been anything more than mediocre. I’ve always struggled with accepting my T1D. If it were up to me, 90% of the time I would go about my day as if I didn’t even have it until it was a life or death situation. It’s hard...SO hard to be constantly surrounded by people who get to eat every meal not thinking twice about how it’s going to make them feel, or people that can be spontaneous, or even just go to sleep at night peacefully knowing they are going to wake up tomorrow morning and not be sick from forgetting to inject before bed.I love my friends. I love my support system. But, truthfully, it’s not always enough. The only T1Ds...
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in 2014 at the age of 17. When I was first diagnosed I was overwhelmed by the amount of information and lifestyle changes I had to make in addition to preparing for my senior year of high school and applying to college. During this time, I often felt isolated and like I had to hide my diabetes out of the fear of being judged by others. It wasn't until I got to college that I started to become more comfortable and open about being a diabetic. When I found out that a College Diabetes Network (CDN) Chapter was being started at my school, I knew that this was the community of people I had been looking for since I was diagnosed.  I am incredibly grateful to have attended the 5th Annual CDN Retreat. Attending the retreat was the first time I’ve ever been surrounded by so many others who understand what I go through on a daily basis. I could openly check my blood sugar and proudly wear my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM) without judgment from others. I enjoyed participating in all of the sessions, going to the innovation fair...
 Editor’s note: The CDN Chapters at the University of Washington and Seattle University teamed up with the Northwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to ensure that every college student in the Seattle T1D community has access to a support network. Andy, co-founder of the CDN Chapter at the University of Washington, told us about it here. Now, Gwen Malone and Teri Yoder from the JDRF Northwest Chapter recap their experiences and why working with CDN Chapters and the diabetes community is so beneficial. . . . Gwen Malone, Chair of Outreach Committee and Board Member, Northwest JDRF chapter:It was a pleasure to be introduced to Andy Zeiger, co-founder of the University of Washington’s (UW) College Diabetes Network (CDN) chapter (T1Dawgs) and the college outreach chair to the Northwest JDRF chapter.In August of 2016, Andy was newly diagnosed with T1D and looking to take the disease head-on. I was just starting my tenure on the JDRF NW Chapter Board as the Outreach Chair, and Andy was exploring the opportunity to create a CDN Chapter on campus. With Andy’s drive, he quickly harnessed a core group of fellow T1D students and the group was on its way.The JDRF’s Outreach Committee offered...
I have recently learned that one of the most difficult things about running a club in college is pushing the word out in your campus community about it.Almost every single person from the fall 2017 semester that was a part of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Chapter that I am president of had either graduated, or had started things like student teaching, and didn’t have enough time to be a part of the club anymore. So when I was passed down the torch to become the next leader of the Chapter, the first thing I sat down to think about was how to garner the interest of my peers.There were so many ideas that were running through my mind about different activities and team building exercises that I wanted to try, but I quickly began to realize that only having three members (one of whom was me, another the faculty advisor) was going to limit what we could do. I began contacting different people on campus and had the help of the other two members to create and set up posters around the more frequented areas.To my utter joy, at our first meeting of the spring 2018 semester we had two new faces....
Recently, the CDN at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and I planned a fundraiser walk on our campus to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Besides raising money for JDRF, we also wanted to raise awareness of diabetes on campus and to let students know about our student organization. As a newly founded student organization on campus, not a lot of students know about us. Students also don’t realize that diabetes is an illness that college students have at UNH. We wanted to implement an event that would put us on the student radar and to tell our fellow students that diabetes exists on campus!Planning the event was a daunting task at first.  It was hard to know where to start, but with the help of our members and Executive Board, we created multiple techniques to stay on track. We had less than six months to plan the event and we also had to work throughout the summer.  Between everyone working, traveling, and taking summer classes, it was difficult to plan an event over the summer. Our main form of communication was over text message and email. To overcome these challenges, we came up with the...
Question:Hi! My daughter is T1D sophomore I really think she could benefit from support & regular meetings with other T1D’s on campus. There is a CDN Chapter on her campus but she is not so outgoing & it’s a small group. How do I get someone to reach out to her? We all know the other girls are struggling too-- this illness is a beast at best. Thank you!Answers:Abbey:First off, I am happy to hear that there is a CDN Chapter on your daughter’s campus, and even more excited you want her to get involved. I go to Rowan University in New Jersey. Coming in as a freshman, I knew I wanted to get involved, but I just didn’t know how! It just so happened that there was not a CDN chapter on Rowan’s campus, so I started one. It has been one of the best things that has happened in my college career. I know as a Chapter leader that it is difficult to find every diabetic and reach out to them. I would if I could, but there are rules at my campus that stop me from getting names of students with type one. Your daughter’s school may...

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