I’m excited about today’s prompt because it provides me with another chance to attempt to put into writing how impactful the CDN was during my time in college (and post-college). My gratitude for the CDN exceeds any possible words I could use to describe it, but I’ll do my best!
CDN opened my eyes to the greatness of meeting other people with diabetes. I was totally resistant to diabetes camps growing up. I felt that I didn’t need to know other PWDs because I lived with one (my mom) and another was down the street (my aunt). But when I went off to college, a flip switched within me. As I struggled with my diabetes management during the transition to college life, I realized the power of talking to others who knew exactly what I was going through. It was wonderful to no longer feel so alone.
CDN provided me with my first real leadership opportunity. Quite frankly, I was petrified when I accepted the responsibility of leading the chapter at UMass Amherst. This was where it all started and I felt immense pressure to do everything I could to make my chapter succeed. If I were to do it all over again, though, I would because it made me stronger. It made me less afraid to advocate for myself. It made me a better public speaker. It forced me to push boundaries and do things that scared me. I was proud of my chapter when it came time for me to graduate, and I was content knowing that I was leaving it in capable hands. CDN empowered me and showed me that I could be a leader.
CDN introduced me to Jessica Apple and Michael Aviad of ASweetLife.org. During my sophomore year, Tina Roth and Jo Treitman (the Founder/CEO of CDN and [at that time] the Program Director of CDN, respectively) told me that ASweetLife was looking for a new blogger for their online diabetes magazine. And, well, you all know how that wound up for me. More than three years later, I’m still blogging and I love it even more today than I did when I first started. My blog gives me an outlet, a platform to stand on, so I can spread awareness and make my voice heard.
I’m grateful to the CDN for all of the above and more. Thank you for connecting me with many incredible individuals, sending various opportunities my way, and allowing me to partake in your efforts. It’s truly a privilege to be a CDN alum and volunteer and I look forward to seeing what CDN accomplishes next.