Posted on July 19th, 2012 by Admin
Editor's Note: Katrina H. is a patient/caregiver who submitted the following essay as part of the Mayo Clinic Center for Social Media Patient, Caregiver Scholarship Contest. To vote, simply use the Facebook "Like" or Twitter "Tweet" buttons at the bottom of each post to share or leave a positive comment. The top vote-getters will be finalists.
I am a wife and mother of two children, one of which is a Type 1 Diabetic. This has focused my energies on becoming an advocate for Type 1 Diabetes research and education. To do this, I am an active member of the Diabetes Advocacy, Diabetes Online Community, and diabetic family life blogger.
It was 5 years, 5 months and 28 days ago at the age of 22 that I was advised my two-and-a-half year old daughter, Alyse Evangeline, had Type 1 Diabetes .
To be honest, I was taken aback. I barely knew that Type 1 Diabetes even existed! I knew of one other person who had Type 1 Diabetes. I knew that he had to have candy bars with him, but I never understood why and, honestly, as a middle/high schooler) I didn't care. And years later, as a parent, all I knew was that my daughter was very lethargic, peeing excessively, horrible yeast infection, and sporadic episodes of vomiting.
When Aly was first diagnosed, I felt pity for myself and my daughter. I felt responsible for my daughter being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, but I also found the diabetes online community through Facebook. I turned to Facebook where I found other parents that were going through the same struggles and hardships as myself. The online community is a large group of parents of children with diabetes and people with diabetes of all ages. They all took me in to their lives and I took them in to mine. I found hope, support, strength, and my passion. My passion of diabetes education.
I love to educate people about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes via Twitter, Facebook, Email, and in person. In the last 5 and a half years I have found MY personal calling in life. I have found Diabetes Education. This is not only what I want to do for a living but what I thoroughly enjoy spending my time doing.
I started Hope for Aly to go out into the Kansas City community and educate the general public about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. I have started online support groups, a diabetes information and facts page on Facebook, joined the Diabetes Advocacy, joined the Diabetes Online community, started a blog named Insulin Princess and networked with thousands of people affected by Diabetes through Facebook, Twitter, and other modern media.
Participation in the Social Media Summit would provide me with better information, knowledge, and tools to continue my social media advocacy and ultimately make these endeavors bigger and better. My online presence will reach out and educate those affected by Diabetes across the world. I will be able to directly focus my intentions in the area’s that will reach the most people in social media.
I was very lucky to find the Diabetes online community as fast as I did since many people with Diabetes and parent of children with Diabetes do not find the social media side for years after diagnosis. I understand how they feel lost, scared, and defeated. I want to be able to advocate for people living with diabetes and their families, so that they feel understood, loved, and know that someone is always there. The lights never get turned off with the social media, the doors are never closed, and the phone never goes to voicemail --- someone is always there!!
Five and a half years from now, I want to be seen as one of the premier advocates for Type 1Diabetes in the news and social media.
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