Our diabetes online community can feel like family a lot of the time, so when one of our own gets good news we all feel a sense of pride. That's especially true when a D-peep is able to move up in a way that will trickle back and impact many other PWDs (people with diabetes).
That's what has happened with our intern Amanda Cedrone over on the East Coast, who's been a great part of our team here at the 'Mine for the past six months. We've loved being able to share her journalistic talents, and personal insights.
Now, we're excited to share her great news about starting a full-time job focused on diabetes! We'll let her provide the details, with a first-hand account on how this transition is going for her:
Special to the 'Mine by Amanda Cedrone
If there's one big lesson the past couple months have taught me, it's that college is something I very much enjoyed but think could have been so much better had there been something like the College Diabetes Network when I was in school.
Oh, wait -- let me back up. The news first: I took a new full-time job with the non-profit CDN, moving from New York City to a new apartment in Boston in between my writing and tweeting here at the 'Mine!
As you might have guessed, it's been a pretty exciting time for me lately.
First, the personal side of things:
I lived in Boston for five years prior to moving to New York City for a year, so the move back was pretty seamless. I know the city inside and out, and my friends are here. I have my favorite restaurants (which means I know the carb counts for my favorite dishes!)
The transition has been pretty easy in terms of my diabetes care, too. I'm only 23, and still on my parent's insurance plan, so nothing is changing there. I kept all my doctors in Boston for the past year, since I didn't know where I'd end up when my study program ended. I didn't even change endocrinologists when I moved to New York City; I continued going to Joslin here in Boston.
My blood sugars have been great, too. Between having a more defined schedule than when I was in graduate school in New York, and starting on the CGM around the same time as I moved back, my numbers have been better than ever.
Along with the great diabetes numbers, I've loved being able to keep working at DiabetesMine. Reporting and writing posts has increased my knowledge of the diabetes world exponentially, especially in terms of the technology that's out there... and how far we still have to go. It's also introduced me to the DOC, which gives me an easy way to remember that other people face the same challenges that I do everyday. While I'll be busy at my new job, I'll continue to contribute to the 'Mine as my schedule allows.
If you told me during my freshman year of college that this is where I would start my career, I never would've believed you. Seriously, I probably would have laughed in your face. As I've written before, I struggled with my diabetes care in college before eventually getting motivated to take better care of myself. That led me to getting really interested in diabetes and overall health, and that led me down the path of researching the lack of resources available young adult type 1 PWDs have and turning that topic into my master's degree thesis.
That research is how I first stumbled upon CDN and the awesome pair behind it — CEO and Founder Christina Roth, and Program Director Jo Treitman. From there, it's all been building up to this point and it now only seems fitting that I ended up as the third full-time team member here. I only started about a month ago, but there's so much going on that I feel like I've been here for ages.
Actually, it was a $100,000 grant the CDN received from the Helmsley Charitable Trust in late August that made my new job possible. As many of us probably know by scanning diabetes new headlines, Helmsley is more than just a million-dollar dog... they're the force behind the T1DExchange and the ever-growing Glu community online. So, we've been thrilled to get a grant from Helmsley that is being used to increase the CDN's reach and help our team work more efficiently -- in part by bringing me on!
More than that, the grant will be used to "further plan and develop our ecosystem approach to supporting young adults" and that includes additional programing for students. More details on that coming soon...
Besides the Helmsley grant, CDN also announced during the past month that we received a $90,000 grant from Novo Nordisk. This is the second year in a row for that specific grant, and the money's going toward expanding membership and chapter counts throughout the country. We have more than 36 chapters across the country currently and we're excited about boosting that number up even more to connect college-aged PWDs looking for that support.
While it wasn't what I thought I wanted to do when I grew up (totally thought I'd be a newspaper reporter right now), I couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I'm so happy that I'll be able to help college students with diabetes avoid the mistakes I made, and the unhappiness that resulted from them.
My official title at CDN is Operations Assistant. I'll be handling a lot of marketing tasks for CDN, as well as social media, but because we're a small team, I'll also help out with things including planning conferences and budgeting.
In my first week, a Saturday conference session gave me the most insight into what this all means for me.
A big part of our jobs is establishing relationships and facilitating communication. We're always trying to meet students who might be interested in starting or joining chapters, clinicians who can introduce CDN to their patients, product reps who can demonstrate the newest diabetes gadgets for students to learn about at a chapter meeting, etc.
That being said, the CDN team attends A LOT of conferences. During my first week, I spent a Saturday sitting in on sessions and exhibiting the CDN table at the TCOYD (Taking Control of Your Diabetes) conference in Worcester, MA.
It was great to see the different kinds of people who approached Christina and me that day. We met high school students with diabetes who were excited about and interested in getting involved with CDN when they begin college, as well as parents of college students with type 1 who were happy to hear that there was someone interested in the well-being of their grown kids. Most interesting to me, however, were the veteran type 1s who approached us, asked what we did, and said simply that they wished they had a resource like CDN while they were in college. (We've written about how the young adult population, until fairly recently, has been largely ignored.)
In November, Jo and I will be attending the New England College Health Association annual meeting in Vermont, where we'll be learning about the current higher education health environment and meeting college health professionals from all over New England.
I'm looking forward to that.
Because we're a relatively new organization, one of the most important tasks ahead is getting the word out that we exist. Right now, I'm organizing a mass mailing of CDN brochures that will be sent to organizations including clinics, colleges, and diabetes camps around the country.
All in all, I feel very lucky that I get to work every day toward something I truly believe in. Seeing how hard Jo and Christina work, I know that they feel the same way. I'm excited to see and write about where we are six months to a year from now, so stay tuned.
Congrats, Amanda! Great to hear about the new gig -- as well as your own great D-numbers. We're excited for you, and of course look forward to your continuing to share here as you're able!