Kelsey's Ganémosle Program Fundraising

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Kelsey Luchey
110 percent of goal achieved.
Goal: $3,600.00
Achieved: $3,954.81

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As most of you know, when I was in 7th grade, my family went to Outback Steakhouse for my Dad's birthday. I indulged in a bloomin onion, chicken fingers and a rootbeer float. That night I had awful stomach pains that had been coming and going for a few weeks and my Mom finally insisted I had to go to the doctor.

I was terrified that they were going to have to pump my stomach or do something internally (I was in 7th grade, I had to assume the worst), so I was very relieved when the doctor told me I just needed to do a urine test. She returned to the office in just a few moments and announced I had diabetes. My Mom immediately started crying, and I just sat there having no idea what was going on. Next thing I knew we were on our way to the hospital and my whole life dramatically changed.

Since that night, I have faced a lot of battles. Injections, pumps, sensors, not wanting to have diabetes because being a teenager was hard enough, and so on. But I have made it through those hurdles, and have remained away from the hospital since I was diagnosed.

For a while now, I have wanted to get more involved with the diabetes Community. I have done some volunteering with JDRF, but AYUDA has always been a program that has interested me. AYUDA is a nonprofit volunteer organization that empowers youth to serve as agents of change in diabetes communities around the world. In the middle of January I decided to apply on a whim to be a part of AYUDA's Ganémosle Program.

Well, I am very excited to share with you that my application was accepted and for nine days this summer, I will be going to the Dominican Republic as a volunteer with AYUDA. I will be working with AYUDA and its partner organization in the DR, Aprendiendo a Vivir (AAV - Learning to Live). Together we will implement a national campaign to promote fitness, well-being and to raise awareness about diabetes. In a country where nearly 70% of the population does not regularly exercise, the  campaign hopes to motivate people via a 10k run/walk, a series of smaller races, and other athletic events and corresponding education programs. 

Leading this campaign will be the young people supported by AAV and AYUDA, who act as role models for healthy living with diabetes.   

Starting this February I will be participating in long trainings both online and in-person to prepare me for my trip to Santo Domingo on May 30th to begin my work. This will include running educational programs, being part of a Spanish-language media campaign and conducting outreach programs such as hospital & home visits.

One of the unique ways AYUDA remains a grassroots volunteer organization is by teaching its volunteers to participate in fundraising to support the direct costs of the programs. In fact, without fundraising by volunteers like me, AYUDA’s in-country work would not be possible. For more information about AYUDA and its important work, please visit their website. ( )

I hope to reach my fundraising goal by May 23rd to support AYUDA and my trip to the Dominican Republic. Please support me in this important journey by making a contribution. You can make a tax-deductible donation online or send your contribution to the address below.

To mail in a donation -make all checks payable to AYUDA Inc, and please put my name in the Memo field.

Mail to: AYUDA Inc, 1700 N Moore St, Suite 2000, Arlington VA 22209.

Your tax-deductible gift makes a difference. Your support will ensure local diabetes programs will continue to thrive and that young people in these communities will have access to education and tools that will help them live happier, healthier lives with diabetes. 

Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress, and be sure to share stories of my trip once I return home!

¡Juntos Somos Más Fuertes! Together We Are Stronger!

My Personal Web Log


Volunteer Training
Thank you to everyone who has supported my trip to the Dominican Republic this Spring with AYUDA.
I just completed an intense weekend training program to prepare for the in-Country portion of this experience. AYUDA flew in the company leaders of Aprendido a Vivir (their partner company in the Dominican Republic) and we all worked together to prepare for what we would be doing when we arrive in May. We got to meet one of the individuals who has benefited from the work Aprendido a Vivir and AYUDA do and hear his story about being diagnosed.
I was very surprised to learn that when he was diagnosed just a few years ago, he was told he would not live much longer. He experienced the same symptoms I went through, and had the same testing done, but due to a lack of knowledge and resources, he wasn't presented with the positive hope I received when I was diagnosed.
He was lucky to find Aprendido a Vivir and he now has access to everything he needs and is such an inspiration to people in his community and to me. I have never felt more motivated to improve my health and continue to take great care of my condition.
It was also a great experience to be surrounded by so many fellow diabetics and here them share stories so similar to what I have gone through. It is nice to know that I am not alone in some of the challenges I have a faced and frustrations I have had with my condition.
I cannot wait to get to the Dominican Republic this Spring, thank you so much for making this happen!

by Kelsey Luchey on Mon, Mar 09, 2015 @ 4:47 PM

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