Here with a Helping Hand… or an Extra Juice… How Joining the T1D Community Has Helped Me


Editor's note: this blog was originally written by Hannah and posted on the Miami University CDN Chapter blog in 2017. Check it out hereDid you know CDN is turning 10 this year? We are going to highlighting some our favorites blogs from the last ten years and raising money we can keep going strong for another 10 years. Please help us celebrate by donating $10 for 10 years!

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Let me start this post off with a short story. On my second day after moving out for college, I was at a talk about leadership. I was, begrudgingly, taking out my meter to test my blood sugar before (okay, you caught me, 3/4 of the way through) my meal when another student in the room said, “Hey!  Is that a meter?” When I responded that I did indeed have type one diabetes, he happily pulled out his cgm and rolled up his sleeve to show me his omnipod and stated, “I’m John”.

I do not think I thought much of this interaction in the moment, but now, with a year of hindsight, I realize that this interaction was the start to a brand new chapter in my type one diabetes journey. I was diagnosed with type one diabetes at the age of 1 and I grew up like any other normal, happy child. There were not a lot of other people with type one in my school but each year of elementary school I would read my class a picture book about my type one diabetes.  I was always happy to engage in a conversation if anyone asked about my diabetes but people rarely even noticed.  I was never ashamed of my diabetes but it was never anything I really talked about.

I had assumed this habit would be maintained in college but BOY was I wrong. My friendship with John was immediate. He understood what it felt like to be low,  how much counting (guessing) carbs sucked and how sometimes an A1c felt like a label for how good of a person you are. Everyone deserves that. They deserve somebody who “gets it”, someone who allows you to bring into the light a part of your life that people don’t usually talk about.


I also decided during my first year to get involved with College Diabetes Network. After my first meeting I went back to my dorm room and cried. I remember walking in that room for our first meeting and feeling so at ease, surrounded by other people who beeped just as much as I did.  My involvement with CDN lit a fire in me. I wanted everyone with type one to know about the resources we had; from peer support to help with getting access to accommodations. I began actively seeking out students on campus who I saw with a pump on their hip and I began following countless people with type one on various social media platforms.  Soon I made friends with people in my dorm hall and even a girl in multiple of my classes with type one diabetes.Through joining the T1D community, I was finally able to be more open and honest about the difficulties I face every day with my diabetes. It was through this community that I was able to learn the importance of self care.

Looking back one year later, I am so glad I chose to better acknowledge my type one diabetes. Today I am much more secure in who I am as a person and in my type one diabetes care. Plus I have made so many valuable connections with people I would do anything to help and I know would do anything to help me.


Hannah studies public health, social work and psychology at Miami University in Ohio, and is expected to graduate in May 2020. She is the president of the CDN Chapter there. Follow her on Instagram at @pumpwanderer.