Welcome to Hannah's Personal Page!
Thank you for taking the time to visit my page and support me in this life-changing experience!
I am excited to announce that this summer, I will be visiting the Dominican Republic (DR) as a volunteer with the non-profit organization AYUDA (American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad). We will be partnering with the in-country organization, Aprendiendo a Vivir (AAV- “learning to live”) and will be supplying diabetes knowledge to young people living with diabetes. For my trip in particular, I will be a part of “Campo Amigo Dominicano”, in which we run a diabetes education camp for young people living with type 1 diabetes. We will also participate in various outreach activities within the community such as home and hospital visits.
What is AYUDA?
AYUDA is a non-profit 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 in their development and implementation of sustainable and global diabetes programs. AYUDA’s innovative peer learning model uses international volunteers as catalysts for empowering local youth living with diabetes to live happy and healthy lives. For more information about AYUDA, please visit their website at www.ayudainc.net.
On September 23rd, 2009, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening, chronic autoimmune condition that occurs when the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas are attacked and essentially rendered useless. This meant that I needed to learn how to do everything my pancreas once did in order to maintain a happy and healthy life. In the beginning of my diagnosis, my family and I were taught exactly what type 1 diabetes is, and how it would affect our lives. Through our stay at Seattle Children’s Hospital, and the countless number of doctor’s visits, I was shown the basics of how to prick my finger and check my blood sugar, how to count carbohydrates, and how to give myself insulin through a syringe/insulin pen. And it is because of these resources and knowledge, that I was able to help my sister, Claire, when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes two years ago.
Both my sister and I are fortunate to have a stable support system through school nurses, teachers, family, and friends which allows us to live fairly "normal" lives. Yet, without this care, this would most likely not be the case. Although Claire and I received great care when we were diagnosed, many children in the Dominican Republic do not have these resources and with a lack of resources comes a lack of management. AYUDA is helping to close this gap by providing these much needed resources in different developing countries, and this summer, I get to be a part of closing the gap in the Dominican Republic!
Why I am volunteering
Although I have been living with type 1 diabetes for seven years, it was not until my sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes that I became more involved with the diabetes community. Watching my sister struggle through her diagnosis was, in my opinion, one of the more difficult parts of living with this condition. I knew what was ahead for her because I had already lived it. I understood from diagnosis, her life would be forever changed. During her hospital stay, my family and I reviewed all the basics of living with type 1 diabetes-carb counting, nutritional values, and managing bloods sugars. None of it was new to us, and in some ways we thought it was unnecessary to "learn" what we had been through seven years earlier. Yet, I now realize how important this education really was to effectively maintain a healthy life as a type 1 diabetic. As, one of AYUDA's guiding principles says, “a lack of education is as dangerous as a lack of insulin." Living in the United States, we received great diabetes education, yet many children around the world do not have access to these crucial resources. Everyone deserves a chance at a happy and healthy life no matter what their situation is.
How you can help
I will be traveling to the Dominican Republic in July, but my journey begins today! I need to reach my fundraising goal of $6,500 by July 1st, 2017. Please support me in this important goal by making a contribution. A tax-deductible donation online makes supporting AYUDA quick and easy. You can also send your contribution to the address listed below.
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.
If you would like to support me, you can either donate online, by pushing the orange button above, or by mailing a donation in. To mail in a donation, please, make all checks payable to: AYUDA Inc. and please put my name, “Hannah Reidel," in the Memo field.
Your tax-deductible gift makes a difference. Your support will ensure that 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.
¡Juntos Somos Más Fuertes!
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