Welcome to Emma's Personal Page
WELCOME and thank you so much for visiting my page! I am so excited to announce that I will be RETURNING this summer to serve as a volunteer for AYUDA on a life-changing experience in the Dominican Republic (DR). Together with AYUDA's in-country partner organization, Apendiendo a Vivir (AAV - "learning to live") and my fellow volunteers, we will organize diabetes education initiatives for young people living with diabetes. These initiatives include "Campo Amigo Dominicano" a diabetes education camp for young people living with diabetes, and participating in outreach activities such as hospital & home visits.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2011 and have been blessed from the start with amazing medical care and a wide support system that helps me manage my diabetes each day. As well, I have been blessed to have access to the tools needed to care for myself. I learned early on how to manage my life with diabetes and how much is involved in the day-to-day care. Unfortunately, many in other parts of the world do not have access to the education I received when I was diagnosed and, because of that, have lessened life spans and an increase in health complications. There are very few people in the DR who have the means for the diabetes technology I have the privilege of using every day, such as an insulin pump or continuous glucose monitor. In fact, many go days between even giving a single insulin injection, in order to make the precious resource last as long as possible. Aprendiendo a Vivir does an amazing job of providing the families in the DR with not only insulin and other supplies, but life-saving education, as the lack of education is as dangerous as the lack of insulin. The wonderful thing about Aprendiendo a Vivir is that they do not stop when AYUDA leaves. AYUDA empowers them to continue their service within the DR diabetes community throughout the year. One of the aspects I love so much about AYUDA is the fact that AYUDA works alongside the in-country diabetes community to equip and empower the youth of the area to be agents of change, continuing the work done during the summer long after AYUDA leaves.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that has no regard for gender, race or ethnicity. It is caused when one’s body destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream and causes life-threatening complications. Because your body no longer produces insulin, insulin must be given through injections for the rest of one’s life after diagnosis in order to live. Even though it has been almost 100 years since the discovery of insulin in the treatment of diabetes, there are still many gaps in the care of those living with diabetes across the world, especially in low to middle income countries (LMIC), such as the Dominican Republic. These countries lack not only adequate access to needed medical supplies, but also essential and life-saving education.
I was fortunate enough to attend a camp for kids with Type 1 right after I was diagnosed. I know that in large part due to my camp experience, I became a part of community of others who understand my struggles and continue to learn from others who deal with the same things I do day in and day out. The people at camp support me when I need help and celebrate with me when I reach milestones. Although my diabetes does not define who I am, it has allowed me to grow and meet people who have enriched my life. It is in part because of my experience at camp, that I am so eager to join AYUDA in putting on a Type 1 camp in the Dominican Republic this summer so that I can pass on to others what my camp experience has given to me. I will be in the Dominican Republic for three weeks in July, working alongside in-country volunteers and my fellow AYUDA volunteers at Campo Amigo diabetes camp.
AYUDA endeavors to remain a grassroots volunteer organization in a unique way: by asking its volunteers to participate in fundraising for their programs. In fact, without fundraising by volunteers like me, AYUDA’s in-country work would not be possible.
My Personal Web Log
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