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Grant E Bello
One last time, I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who made this experience possible for me. Thank you, for allowing me to leave a positive impact on someone's life. Thank you, for supporting a cause that may have never been a part of your daily life before. I came to the Dominican Republic to teach about diabetes. Me, along with other volunteers, were able to do that. But there was more to it. Simply being in the same room, for example, during a San Pedro home visit, or at camp, put a huge grin on these families' faces. Whether it was in the classroom at camp, camp was held at a high school, or on the basketball court, nothing was more rewarding than seeing someone's face light up because of yourself. Home visits in particular, at San Pedro and San Cristóbal, showed me how fortunate I am. Even beyond diabetes, simply just tap water, air conditioning, and technology are all things that i take for granted and these people don't have. At camp we got to teach and interact through activities that we organized, such as Diabetes and Basketball or a Dance Competition, while at the home visits we got learn and absorb. One girl we met in San Pedro was someone in particular who moved me. All of us in one group, were asked to raise are hands if we had type one diabetes. Everyone, or almost everyone, raised their hand. This girl was nearly in tears after seeing this. We all have obstacles in life, whether mentally, physically, in health, in the workplace, on the sports field, or in the classroom. I understand, it can be difficult at times. But there will always be those who are less healthy, have less money, or have worse grades. What I'm saying is that obstacles in life are inevitable, yet conquer the obstacle not just for yourself, but for those who are even less fortunate. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And once again, I thank you, for putting a smile on someone's face.
My name is Grant Bello and I have had Type 1 Diabetes since I was 11 years old. Ever since I was 4 years old, Type One Diabetes has been a part of my life after my older brother, Max, was diagnosed 12 years ago at the age of 5. I remember as a young child my family participated in numerous diabetes walks in support of my brother, it was there that everyone said we were going to find a cure. Taking this literally, I kept my eyes wide open, looking for the cure. Eventually, my parents told me that we wouldn't literally find the cure during these fundraising events, but ever since I have been committed to doing whatever I can to help find a cure. Six years later, it became a reality in my life when I was diagnosed with this life changing condition. Fortunately, I have had access to some of the world's best doctors and most advanced technologies. I am extremely grateful for living in a country where i have this level of care. While living with Type 1 Diabetes, I have become well aware of the many challenges that it poses. This had made me realize that there are many people around the world who are not able to access these same resources, turning what can be a challenging chronic condition into a life threatning one. As a result, I want to use my experince as someone living with diabetes to help those who are less fortunate.
This summer, I will embark on a life-changing experience in the Dominican Republic (DR) as a volunteer for AYUDA. Together with AYUDA's in-country partner organization, Aprendiendo 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" a diabetes education camp for young people living with diabetes, and participating 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. (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 July 6th. 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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