~Connect, Support, and Help others with Type I Diabetes~

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Ecuador team page
Mary Jane Waller
101 percent of goal achieved.
Goal: $5,500.00
Achieved: $5,575.00

Make a gift!

Contact: mary.waller@richmond.edu

As most of you all know by now, I was diagnosed with type I diabetes at age 8. Now, I am a twenty year old junior at the University of Richmond studying Latin American and Iberian Studies along with Psychology. 

My time spent volunteering in Ecuador with AYUDA (American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad) and FDJE (Juvenile Diabetes Foundation of Ecuador) was phenomenal. I lived in and around Quito, Ecuador from late July to early August for about 3 weeks. The group of volunteers and the medical staff all got to know each other well as we trained and prepared for Campo Amigo, which was to take place the 3rd week of our stay. 

One of the most noteworthy experiences I had was traveling to small towns outside the capital city to visit several type I diabetic children and their families. This allowed me to see more of the country's richly diverse geography and helped me understand more of the socioeconomic conditions that exist in Ecuador. It was on this outreach trip that I got to meet a little girl and her grandmother outside of their home, which doubled as a little convenience store. The little girl was seven years old and had been diagnosed at five. Tragically, her mother had passed away when she was six, and she now lives with her grandmother and ailing grandfather in the back of the convenience store with the financial support of her father. On top of all of these struggles, she was also dealing with type I diabetes with hardly any funds. Test strips used to test blood glucose are very expensive, and her family only had enough money to test once or twice a week (at least 4 times a day is recommended in the US). The little girl had a similar-aged female cousin, and with the two girls playing side by side it was very evident that the one with type I diabetes had much less energy and life than the healthy girl. Long story short, we were thankfully able to convince this little girl to come to Campo Amigo and her family had to pay nothing thanks to YOUR donations!!!

When I saw the little girl and her grandmother at camp I ran up and gave them both a big hug, I was so happy to see that she had come. At camp she got the chance to meet other children with the same disease and  learn about how to take care of herself. Meanwhile, her grandmother got to attend parent/guardian sessions to learn how to best care for a type I diabetic child. It was this particular interaction that made me so thrilled to be working with such a powerful organization whose mission is so dear to me. 

AYUDA is a nonprofit volunteer organization that empowers youth to serve as agents of change in diabetes communities around the world. AYUDA is dedicated to supporting local diabetes communities to develop and implement sustainable diabetes programs throughout the world, with its initial focus emerging out of Latin America. AYUDA's innovative peer learning model uses international volunteers as catalysts for empowering young people living with diabetes to live happy and healthy lives.

One of the unique ways AYUDA endeavors to remain a grassroots volunteer organization is by asking its volunteers to participate in fundraising for their programs. In fact, fundraising by volunteers- like mine- contributes to the majority of the costs to run AYUDA's programs and sponsor local diabetes projects.

For more information about AYUDA and its important work, please visit their website www.ayudainc.net

Making a tax-deductible donation online makes supporting AYUDA quick and easy; however, if you would prefer, you can send your contribution to the address listed below. 

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

Address:AYUDA Inc, 1700 N Moore St, Suite 2000, Arlington VA 22209

I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.
ˇJuntos Somos Mas Fuertes!

Together We Are Stronger!





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by Mary Waller on Fri, Mar 09, 2012 @ 7:00 AM

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