Advocacy and Student Rights

    How does my voice count? I’m one person out of everyone in America. There’s no way my voice will be heard. Lies. This was my mindset before attending The Diabetes Patient Advocacy Coalition (DPAC) Training Meeting a few weeks ago. I quickly learned during this time that I had the opportunity to make my voice so LOUD that people only have the option to hear me. This isn’t done by yelling or being in people's faces... this is done by simply telling my story.      
Editor's note: Ryan attended the CDN NextGen Leadership Summit in early April and tells us about his experiences during the weekend and his positive experience with his school's Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) office. When I was diagnosed with T1D  late in my high school career, I never thought I’d travel far from my hometown for college. Everything I needed to survive was conveniently located in my hometown: my medications, my doctors, and of course my family of support.… Read more
This past week, I had the distinct pleasure of attending “The State of Diabetes” - a meeting for congressional members on Capitol Hill. While it does sound like “The State of the Union” address, I was not appointed the “designated survivor” (lucky for you). Rather, this meeting of the minds allowed the most prominent members in the diabetes community to come together and brief congress people on where our country is in diabetes research, expenses, and overall life with the disease. This meeting… Read more
Editor's Note: Thanks to support from Insulet, makers of the Omnipod, CDN is able to provide our Political Advocacy Guide to all who want to make an impact!     I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2011 at age 12. After going to a doctor’s appointment where I was promised there would be no shots, I was ironically rushed to the hospital for a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes and shots for the rest of my life. Since then, I have had many ups and downs, but I have also found a community. I have… Read more
CDN STUDENT ADVICE COLUMNISTS 2018-2019 Editor's note: A warm welcome to our new Student Advice Columnists for the 2018-2019 school year! They'll be answering your anonymous questions about everything T1D and young adulthood. Ask your question here! Q: What’s your best advice for finding a balance between not milking your accommodations and other’s sympathies and not having enough resources? I’ve always been told not to use my diabetes as a crutch but it’s hard sometimes when you get some… Read more
KAMERAN ULFERTS, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-KEARNEY '18 My experience with the disability services office at the university I attend, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, started out with a unique narrative. When I arrived to college as a freshman I had been living with diabetes for about five to six years and I began to soak up every opportunity of independence that presented itself. I grew up in a small, rural school where the label “diabetic” was almost always attached to my identity. Coming to… Read more
In the summer before my first year, I was informed that I had been assigned to the residence that I had placed dead last on my ranking. I had given it that position because it is the only off-campus residence, a 15-minute wall away in the heart of busy downtown. My late night walks home would therefore not be passing by safe, university buildings, but instead the closed restaurants and shops of downtown. While Toronto is much safer than many cities around the world, it’s still enough to make a… Read more
By now, most everyone is aware of the advantages of diabetic alert dogs (DAD). Pre-symptomatic alerts on high and low blood sugars alleviate worry about the rollercoaster ride that is blood glucose levels and nighttime lows are less of a concern. I don’t need to tell you about the security or relief I feel with my DAD in hand, but there is a lot more to life with a DAD than the benefits of easier blood sugar management. You surely know why you might want one, but what is the everyday reality of… Read more
"If you don't take this exam, you'll get a zero on it and your final exam will be worth double, which is nearly half of your grade." Not exactly the words any college kid wants to hear from their professor, especially when the student is having an insulin pump malfunction. That's exactly the situation I found myself in my sophomore year of college, and with no established office of disabilities on campus, it was just me advocating against university policy. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely… Read more
KAMERAN ULFERTS, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA- KEARNEY ‘18 Because of the T1D community I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for close to nine years of my life, and I have learned so many things about the disease and about myself in the midst of it all. Believe it or not, I am still learning every day. In the early honeymoon years of my T1D journey, the term “chronic illness” sounded like a scary medical label that made me a fragile alien on this planet where the majority of the inhabitants… Read more
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