Advocacy Blog

Interning in the Advocacy office – Bridget’s Story

Hello everyone, my name is Bridget Anshus and I’m from Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Go Pack Go!).  I am currently a sophomore at American University on the path to complete the Communications, Law Institutes, Economics and Government Interdisciplinary major with a minor in Marketing as well as a Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies. I am really interested in advocacy and lobbying as a potential career post-graduation. With that, I am truly ecstatic to be here at JDRF Advocacy interning this fall!

Bridget with her boyfriend, Chris. Chris was diagnosed with T1D when he was only 18 months.

Bridget with her boyfriend, Chris. Chris was diagnosed with T1D when he was only 18 months.

Diabetes, especially type one, has not been a part of my life until quite recently. My knowledge of the disease was equivalent to zero with Nick Jonas as my only reference. Those days were soon gone after I met my boyfriend, Chris.

Chris was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 18 months old and has had a pump since he was four. He is very passionate about diabetes and helping others understand what living with it entails.  Education has been at the forefront of our relationship since day one.

Going in not knowing a thing about diabetes, it was only after two dates that he ever so lightly laid out what T1D was. He started throwing out medical terms like beta cells, basal, and bolusing, as if I actually knew what those meant. Head spinning, confused, numbers being thrown at me left and right about a targeted blood sugar range and blood sugar correction, I had no clue what he was talking about. But I knew that if I was going to get to know him, I had to get to know diabetes too.

After our first of many Diabetes 101 sessions, I started looking into everything: from pumps to non-profits, including JDRF.  After breaking Google, my life was turned upside down and inside out.  I started asking more questions about T1D, Chris showed me how his pump worked and let me bolus for a meal, he showed me how to change a site, quizzed me on the approximate amount of carbs in his meal; basically what all typical boyfriends do. The more and more I learned about T1D, the more I wanted to be involved with the solution and education of others.

Photo 2 - Eaglebetics

Last spring, Chris partnered with a former JDRF intern and started the American University Chapter of the College Diabetes Network. The College Diabetes Network (CDN) is a national non-profit helping Type 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s create a place for dialog and support on college campuses. I became very involved with the club and became the Public Relations Coordinator helping brand the newly formed chapter: The Eaglebetics.  AU CDN has been a great medium for me to become more aware of the challenges of T1D as well as a creative outlet.

T1D has touched my life in a significant way.  I consistently find myself looking for any signs of other people with T1D in my environment, scouring for CGMs and pumps, and wanting to talk to them. Being engrossed in this culture and way of living, I have found something I truly feel passionate about.  I want to continue being an ally to those with T1D and an educator to those who are just like me. I guess over the last few months I’ve just become that TYPE of person.

I am so very excited to continue this learning experience at JDRF Advocacy, helping to find ways to turn Type One into Type None.

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