Age: 25 Year Diagnosed: 2016 Location: Chicago, IL

“A misconception about living with diabetes I wish I could change is the common perception that the disease only affects the type of foods we get to eat. Not only can Type 1 Diabetics make their own decisions on the food they consume as long as they understand what its doing to their bodies and how to treat it with insulin, but living with Type 1 governs every aspect of our lives that others cannot see. It doesn't stop and it never slows down. Every other thought throughout my day is thinking 3 steps ahead to make sure I get cooperative blood sugars. I'm a very active person so I'm constantly checking my CGM, thinking about what I need to do to not crash or spike depending on what's lined up for the day and countless other factors.

I think Type 1 Diabetics need to stand up in their everyday lives for the invisible disease that nobody else can see. I've plead for a cup of lemonade at a closed down concession stand after a concert, learned how to talk with TSA and walk up during pre-board to tell an airline that I'm getting my medical supplies on, and most certainly do not accept a cup of coffee that isn't black. Be the advocate that you need in order to live easier with Diabetes.

At 22 I had just graduated college, I was starting a new job and I was ready to try and find my place in the world. After a solid month of my past-self slowly melting away I was diagnosed with Type 1 and a new life ensued. I gained my health back, started listening to various diabetes podcasts, read some books and slowly got the low down on eating, understanding how insulin works to get ahead of the lows and highs and gaining confidence to live the way I wanted again. This is NOT to say it didn't take a fair amount of time. I can't speak on behalf of those diagnosed as children or teens, but I can speak to those diagnosed as young adults. I curled myself into a depressed ball of low self worth for an entire year, but through that time I built the mindset of acceptance and personal growth. It takes a while to set in, and it most certainly took a while for me, but a time came where the darkness lifted and I was living with Diabetes, not a tragedy. “