See, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on my second birthday (I am now 17). In many ways, it was a diagnosis for my entire family because I was too young at the time to manage my disease.
But now I’m old enough to take matters into my own hands. As the American Diabetes Association’s 2012 National Youth Advocate, I will spend the year promoting the Association’s advocacy initiatives and encouraging children and adults to become involved in the fight to Stop Diabetes®.
This disease hits home for me in more ways than one: I’m a senior at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in Lexington, Ky., and my home state has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the nation.
While having diabetes was not a choice for me, what I choose to do with it is my choice. In my experience, educating everyone who is willing to learn takes the “scary” out of it.
I have met so many wonderful people through my work so far with the American Diabetes Association. I first became involved at a very young age and have been an active advocate, participant, fund raiser and speaker ever since. I am fortunate to have been able to speak at the state capital and storm the steps of Washington, D.C., for diabetes. Some of my proudest moments have been working with my elected officials to fight for people with diabetes.
In case you can’t tell, I LOVE advocacy! As National Youth Advocate, I am so proud to represent the American Diabetes Association and the young people with diabetes across the country.
I also have served as a Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes® Ambassador since I was six years old. My team, Logan’s Walking Warriors, has raised more than $55,000 for the Association!
Whatever opportunities arise this year, I’ll be ready for them. I am just as comfortable strapping on my sneakers for Step Out as I am wearing a nice dress to meet with state or federal legislators. And if I need to stroll down a catwalk or two, well, then bring it on! (Modeling and fashion shows are hobbies of mine.)
As a young child, I would often ask my mom when they would find a cure—as if it were something the world had lost or misplaced. Now I know that’s not exactly the case, and my questions have been replaced with optimism. I know we’re making progress daily toward this ultimate goal. And along the way, there is so much we can do to improve the lives of all who are affected by diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association means so much to me. It gives me hope, support and a way to make my voice heard. I know that I am not alone—no one is alone—in the fight against diabetes.
No matter your relationship to this disease, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your interest in following my journey as National Youth Advocate and, more importantly, joining the movement to Stop Diabetes.
Logan Nicole Gregory, age 17
2012 National Youth Advocate, American Diabetes Association