People always seem surprised when I tell them that I raise over $5,000+ every year for the American Diabetes Association. I hear a lot about, “Isn’t that awkward to ask people for money?” I actually don’t think it is…and here’s why…
The cause of diabetes is so personal to me and I’ve met thousands of people who also have the disease. I know the struggles that come along with living with a chronic illness and remember the faces of the people who’ve told me their stories. I’ve seen where the dollars go that are raised through the association and believe in the work that they are doing and accomplishing.
I sit on the Community Leadership Board for the American Diabetes Association and last week I was asked to speak at our monthly meeting about “making the ask”. When I’m asking people to donate to the cause and/or to volunteer for an event…I’m asking people that I know and who know me. Just like I would want to help a friend if they have a cause that’s so personal to them, I feel like vice versa I’m just telling people what I’m up to and my life’s passion….helping find a cure for diabetes. I’m never offended if people say no to me…I just think I need to ask more people.
Two weeks ago I was out to dinner with a good friend of mine who also happens to have type-1 diabetes. We were at The Lowry in Uptown. Without even thinking I took my insulin pump out of my pocket, dialed up my bolus dose, and then sat the device on the table…while continuing to talk with my friend. I don’t know if 5 or 10 minutes passed but a young woman around my age approached our table and she asked me, “You have type-1 diabetes?” I said yes without even realizing that she must of seen my pump. I told her yes I do and that I’d worn a Medtronic pump for the last 11 years. My friend also told her, her diabetes journey. With tears in her eyes, Dez told us both about how much this meant to her to meet other people her age living with type-1. At that moment I asked her if she would be interested in meeting other people with type-1 at the sub-committee I run for diabetes advocacy. She instantly said YES when I told her it would be tomorrow at my house. The reason why I tell this story is for a couple of reasons…
1. When you’re open and comfortable to talk about your disease…you just never know how that can affect a total stranger’s life around you. Don’t we all want to try to give hope to another person?
2. If I wouldn’t have told her about the sub-committee meeting she would never had known about it. She came to the meeting that next night and said she feels incredibly blessed to be in such a great, supportive group.
MAKE THE ASK! Some may say no, but the ones who say YES make it totally worthwhile.
Has this ever happened to you…you have type-1 diabetes and a mutual friend introduces you to another person with type-1 diabetes and you instantly feel like you’ve known that person for years? Like you have an instant bond? When I met my diabetes soul mate 6 years ago it was just like that. Ashley is funny, passionate, driven, beautiful, kind, supportive,
Ashley flew to MN to support me at Miss MN
adventurous, and incredibly generous. She also happens to have had type-1 diabetes since she was a baby. We were introduced when we were both living in New York City for the summer doing college internships…me at a fortune-500 financial company…her at Zac Posen (she definitely had the cooler gig). The moment I met her I knew we would be lifelong friends. We just got each other. We knew what it was like living with type-1 diabetes every minute of our life. We could finish each other’s sentences. Something that we really bonded on was going after our individual dreams. Ashley has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in the quest to raise more awareness about diabetes & getting my book published. I have been cheering for her in the front row of her college graduation fashion show at Purdue. I’m BEYOND thrilled and excited for her that AMAZON has recognized her incredible talent as a fashion designer. This week ONLY her stuff is being featured on “My Habit”, the fashion end of amazon.com. You can buy her items there (at a great price!) until Friday morning. Please check out her website as well and support my lovely friend, Ashley Zygmunt for Zamrie. http://www.myhabit.com -> Scroll down to Zamrie www.zamrie.com
My favorite item in my closet…a housecoat by Zamrie!
More about Zamrie: After working under Zac Posen and Peter Som in New York, designer Ashley Zygmunt returned to her hometown of Chicago in 2009 launching the ZAMRIE label with the mission to create timeless pieces for women that are both fresh and classic.
I’m beyond thrilled to announce that my non-profit, “dateline diabetes” has officially been given 501(c)3 status by the IRS!!! That means when someone makes a donation to my charity it will be tax deductible for you.
A portion of the profits from my upcoming book release, “If I Kiss you will I get Diabetes?” will directly go into my non-profit.
Here’s a little more information about dateline diabetes…
When I was diagnosed at the age of 13 I desperately needed to talk to someone who had already had diabetes for a couple of years. In the doctor’s office I couldn’t see pass that day, I needed someone to help me have hope with my future goals and dreams. I created “dateline diabetes” because I saw a need out there and I wanted to help do what I can to help fill that. My inspiration for calling the nonprofit “dateline diabetes” is because dateline is defined as “a line giving the place of origin and usually the date of a news dispatch or the like.” The work that I do comes from my own personal story with having a chronic illness for the past 13 years and I want others to feel empowered to tell their story of origin.
Dateline diabetes serves two specific purposes. First, we provide Baskets of Hope to recently diagnosed diabetics. It will include items such as diabetes educational material, a journal, markers, and information on how to get set-up with a mentor. As well, the parents of the diagnosed will have an opportunity to get set-up with another parent who has a child with diabetes. Second, dateline diabetes provides diabetes camp scholarships to people living with type-1 diabetes who cannot afford to attend.
I’m currently working with a new web developer to redo my entire website so starting this summer (hopefully June 1st) people will be able to go on to the site and 1. Fill out a form requesting a Basket of Hope. 2. Apply for a camp scholarship to be paid directly to the American Diabetes Association camp of their choice (criteria will be based on personal passion for life as well as if they’ re in financial need). 3. Make a donation to the charity.
The lessons that I learned at the age of 13 at Camp Needlepoint I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I realized that I didn’t get a choice in getting diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, but I certainly got the choice on how I was going to react. I hope that you will join me in helping support “dateline diabetes”.