Everyone with Type 1 will agree; it’s hard. But it can be even harder without a proper support system in place. Living with Type 1, it’s extremely easy to feel alone. No matter how much your family or friends do for you, whether it be testing your sugar at 3am or simply educating themselves to better understand your condition, they’re not the ones being poked with needles, and they don’t experience the loss of control with lows or the weakness and unquenchable thirst of highs. Despite their best efforts, they cannot fully understand what life with diabetes is like.
Fortunately there are organizations such as I Challenge Diabetes that connect people with Type 1 diabetes who can deeply understand each other. ICD allows diabetics of all ages to come together and participate in team building activities while also challenging their diabetes. These types of organizations are important to Type 1s such as myself because connecting with those that understand exactly what our struggles are makes us feel less alone and inspires us in ways nothing else can.
I became involved with ICD in January of 2017. I attended a winter leadership retreat and met so many amazing people, including my dear friend and founder of ICD, Chris Jarvis. Before going to the retreat, I was extremely anxious and almost bailed at the last minute. But I am so glad I didn’t – when the retreat came to an end, I bawled my eyes out because it was time to leave! In such a short amount of time I made so many new friends and met the most vibrant people living with diabetes too. I was able to find a more positive way to view my diabetes, learning that it’s not always about the numbers and there is so much we are capable of doing.
To many others like me, ICD makes the difference between a night crying alone in frustration over a high blood sugar to making a quick phone call to someone who understands because they’ve been through it too. ICD is family. We’re each others crutches, rocks, lights in the dark. ICD always has an upcoming local event, so nobody in the community ever has to worry about how long we have to wait until we see each other again. ICD provides acceptance, love, and most importantly; support. I am so grateful that ICD is a part of my life!
– Ainsley Lebel