Working for the American Diabetes Association® means making a difference for millions of people and working toward a future free of diabetes and all its burdens.
We all have a story to share. Some of us live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes or prediabetes. Others have loved ones with the disease or have lost someone to the fight.
The following are personal stories from the Association’s staff about why we are so committed to the mission to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes.
Regional Association Director, Online Marketing and Digital Engagement
During my freshman year of high school, my father was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. His diagnosis was scary, but at the time I didn’t think much about what diabetes meant for me.
Fast-forward four years later to when I was a college freshman. I was having recurring infections, and my doctor thought they could be caused by high blood glucose, so he requested I have my A1C tested. A few days later, on a Friday, he called me and said, “Well, you have diabetes.” My A1C was 11.1.
Since it was a weekend, I was instructed to not eat any carbs and to come back in the following week. (By the way, I’ve since switched providers and have added an endocrinologist to my team.)
When I called my parents to tell them I had diabetes, I was scared. I thought that they would be disappointed in me for doing this to myself. I thought that they would be ashamed of me and my diabetes. But they were not. They were very supportive.
My dad stayed on the phone with me as I went to the corner store to try to buy some food to get me through the weekend. I was near tears reading food labels over the phone, and I kept asking him, “Can I eat this?”
Eventually my doctor gave me more information along with a prescription, and I got my blood glucose meter. I overhauled my diet and started exercising once, sometimes twice, a day. I got my blood sugars under control. But I still felt ashamed, alone and scared.
That summer I was searching online for information about diabetes resources in my area and I came across the American Diabetes Association website. I found that there was an event coming up, the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. I signed up as a Team Captain.
I actively shared my story via email and social media and asked my friends and family to walk alongside me. Step Out served as a platform to motivate me to take better care of myself, and I made sure to share that as I was asking for fundraising support. To help reach my goal, I also coordinated a raffle with contributions from local companies.
A few weeks into my fundraising, I received a call from the local walk manager asking me to speak at the kickoff about my story and my fundraising success. I readily agreed! At the kickoff, I listened to other Team Captains share their stories with diabetes and I shared my story for the very first time.
I didn’t know it at the time, but sharing my story at that event would change my life.
I developed a friendship with the walk manager and she invited me to apply for an internship with the Association. I was thrilled to be assisting with the Step Out event in Phoenix.
Since that internship, I have been part-time temporary staff twice and I have held three different full-time positions at the Association. In total, I have worked and volunteered with this amazing organization for over five years.
My work has helped me accept my diagnosis and given me the passion and drive to take better care of myself.
I also love helping people who may be facing the same challenges I had back then, as a young adult suddenly faced with type 2 diabetes. My hope is to help others educate themselves on diabetes so that they may prevent or delay type 2. And if the day comes that they find themselves lost in a diagnosis, I hope to connect them with the Association to show them that they are not alone.
We are a community of support and, sometimes, as in my case, that can be life-changing.
P.S. I am happy to report that I just received my latest A1C results, and I am down to 6.3!
To learn more about nationwide employment opportunities and life at the Association, please visit diabetes.org/careers.