The JDRF Advocacy office is lucky to have three wonderful interns with us this spring. We’ll be introducing you to each of them over the next few weeks. First up- Leighah!
Hi, my name is Leighah Scully and I am from Cleveland, Ohio! I am currently a sophomore at the George Washington University, studying Art History and Women’s Studies. I have been acutely aware of Type 1 Diabetes for nearly five years, when my younger sister, Anna, was first diagnosed at the age of eleven. Leading up to Anna’s diagnosis, my family became increasingly concerned by her worsening symptoms of fatigue, weight loss, thirst, and general malaise. As a fifth grader, she had a very difficult time performing her daily routine and we ultimately ended up in the hospital, where we learned that she had an estimated blood sugar of 1,000. After several days of inpatient care, Anna was able to learn about and accept her new diagnosis. While this was a very difficult time for everyone, especially Anna, my sister was extremely brave and even comforted my parents for the initial days back at home.
Since then, our entire family has worked to be as conscious of T1D as possible. Some of the hardest parts of the process were watching our household fill up with diabetes supplies—pantries stocked with granola bars and apple juice, drawers stuffed full of needles–and seeing Anna miss so much school due to diabetes-related symptoms. Right away, Anna embarked on an amazing regimen of self-care. She adjusted to taking care of herself quickly, always ensuring that she is well-prepared with carbs and not flinching during daily injections. She continues to impress her doctors with her immense knowledge of diabetes and her ability to monitor her own health. I am so proud to watch her earn good grades, participate in our high school crew team, maintain a fulfilling social life and still be aware of her physical and emotional health. She is currently applying to be a counselor and lifeguard at her diabetes camp that she began attending the first summer after her diagnosis—her first year, she was even honored with a special award for an outstanding attitude and embodying the many values of the camp’s mission. Anna may be four years younger, but she will always be my role model!
I am absolutely thrilled to be interning here at JDRF. Though I have just started my time here, I am so grateful for the open and welcoming community at the advocacy office. It is wonderful to gain insight into so many important diabetes-related issues and stay up to date on all of the latest information on beating Type 1. I am so happy to work beside other individuals who share a deep understanding of the challenges of living with diabetes, and I cannot wait to continue to learn and participate!