Nikhita's Personal Page
These past three weeks with AYUDA and Aprendiendo a Vivir have been full of some of the most meaningful and life-changing moments of my life. This summer, I experienced my first Campo Amigo (a two day camp geared toward newly diagnosed children with type 1 diabetes) and my first Día de la Familia (a one day family camp for those living with diabetes). Being able to interact with children and families that face the daily struggle of living with T1D allowed me to reflect on my own condition. I am so grateful to have an incredibly supportive community around me, from before my diagnosis through my journey with diabetes so far. Thank you for supporting my work with AYUDA over the past 3 years and thank you for allowing me to further develop my passion for global health. As I go off to university, I know that the experiences that AYUDA and the Dominican Republic have offered me will encourage me to think deeper and dream bigger.
For the past two summers, I have had the incredible opportunity to spend two weeks in the Dominican Republic (DR) and personally support my diabetes community in a different country through AYUDA's En El Camino program. We traveled around the country to five different diabetes communities and educated their members on ways that they can better their lives with diabetes through better management of medicine, nutrition, and exercise. My trips with AYUDA have been life-changing experiences, and I am so blessed to go back to the DR again this summer!
On February 8, 2007, at five years old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system destroys the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter cells to produce energy for the body. If left untreated, a high level of blood glucose can damage eyes, kidneys, nerves, and the heart, and can even lead to coma and death. In order to make up for this lack of insulin, people living with type 1 diabetes must manually inject the hormone into their bloodstreams through countless syringes, insulin pens, or insulin pumps.
I am so grateful to be surrounded by incredible doctors who understand what I am going through, but unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone around the world. In the DR, an estimated 10% of the population have diabetes. This summer, I will embark on a third life-changing experience in the Dominican Republic as a volunteer for AYUDA. I will serve as a Volunteer Mentor for AYUDA's Campo Amigo program, where we will organize diabetes education initiatives for young people living with diabetes and participate in outreach activities such as hospital & home visits.
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.
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.
For more information about AYUDA and its important work, please visit their website. (http://www.ayudavolunteer.org)
I will be traveling to the Dominican Republic in July, but my journey begins today! I need to reach my fundraising goal by June 15th. 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.
To mail in a donation, please, make all checks payable to: AYUDA Inc. and please put my name in the Memo field.
AYUDA Inc, 1700 N Moore St, Suite 2000, Arlington VA 22209
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!
Together We Are Stronger!
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