Age: 40    Year Diagnosed: 1998    Location: Pittsburgh, Pa

"I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 21, while attending college at Penn State. More recently, I started an Instagram featuring two plush monkeys who also have diabetes. Their names are Hairy and Leeny of @t1diabesties . This has been a fun way to be creative with ideas relating to diabetes that makes others smile, laugh and feel uplifted. Adults, teens and children alike are relating to these two through their Instagram account. An unexpected result of starting this Instagram has been the ability to educate the public about Type 1. Being in the middle of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks with two little monkeys, one with a pump and one with a syringe, definitely interests onlookers who have questions of what this crazy lady is doing!! I take this opportunity to discuss Type 1 along with the differences and similarities to Type 2. Hairy and Leeny have also provided me with several meaningful connections through the diabetes community. One great example is my favorite group of Pittsburgh Type 1's- t1yinzers!!! We've gotten together several times since first meeting and have regular contact in between get togethers!! The #t1yinzers have been a silver lining in my life."