Age: 27  Year Diagnosed: 2002  Location: New York, NY

"I feel grateful to have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Granted, I'm not exactly enthusiastic about the monthly battle that is getting pump supplies from my insurance company or the pump-stopping, blood-sugar-raising glitches that happen in the middle of the night, but living with a lifelong condition that requires management, attention, education, and constant monitoring has given me the opportunity to live my life with intention. I survived the years of ducking into the bathroom to test my blood sugar out of embarrassment and now welcome (perhaps too eagerly) questions and conversations with any and all non-diabetics who are interested. Meeting other diabetics and being immersed in a diabetic summer camp (such as the wonderful Camp Conrad Chinnock) taught me how to incorporate diabetes management into my daily life, in a way where I didn't have to compromise my spots on any sports teams or give up eating any of my favorite foods (all which happen to be of the sweets variety). Living with diabetes, I have learned to be a more patient and empathetic person with others as well as myself. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

If you ever get the chance to be a part of a group of type 1 diabetics (summer camp, non-profit organization, support group, etc.), take it. Even if you feel like you'd prefer not to be known as a "diabetic" and really would rather just stay at home this summer and do your regular out-of-school summer activities with your usual non-diabetic friends, don't. Allow your mother to "strongly encourage" you to go to a type 1 diabetes summer camp and welcome the opportunity to be surrounded by people who know the unique world that is type 1 diabetes. Because it is through those people that you will discover a particular strength and confidence that is inherent in all type 1 diabetics and learn to foster it within yourself. And it will change your life."