The Association is thrilled to announce that one of our extraordinary diabetes advocates, Tracy Milligan of Jacksonville, Florida, has been named a 2013 WebMD Health Heroes award winner.
Now in its eighth year, the WebMD Health Heroes awards celebrate those who have met a health challenge and are giving back to others in an inspiring way. This year, WebMD introduced a new category of health heroes: those who helped improve diabetes awareness and treatment. Tracy is being honored for helping to lead the fight to protect her son, Jared, who has type 1 diabetes.
Soon after enrolling her son, Jared, in kindergarten, Tracy received upsetting news. A new school district policy wouldn’t allow Jared to attend his neighborhood school unless a family member came to the school to give insulin injections because there was no full-time nurse on staff. The only other option was to send him to one of just six Duval county schools, out of more than 100 district elementary schools, that had a full-time school nurse, so-called “diabetes schools.” To keep Jared at his local school, for two and a half years Tracy drove every day from her office to his school to give him the injections.
Tracy decided she wanted to fight this unfair treatment for her son, and for other Florida school children with diabetes, and contacted the Association for help. Working together as part of the Association’s Safe at School® campaign, she lead the charge and in 2009, a victory was achieved when the Florida legislature passed a law allowing schools to train non-medical personnel to provide diabetes care to students, when a school nurse is not available. The new law also prohibited school district from assigning children to a particular school just because they have diabetes.
And just this year, Tracy’s perseverance led to another victory when Duval Public Schools reversed its diabetes schools policy and now gives students with diabetes the option of staying at their local school, with care provided by trained staff.
Volunteers are a critical part of our success at the Association and Tracy has been instrumental in our Safe at School victories throughout the years. We are proud to see our hard work result in a healthier and safe school environment for Florida children with diabetes, and we are pleased she has received this honor!
For information on our Safe at School campaign, or to learn more about our advocacy efforts, please visit our website or call 1-800-DIABETES.