My name is Will Jennette and I am a senior at George Mason University studying Conflict Analysis and Resolution. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at age 18, during February of my senior year in high school. Adjusting to such an impactful disease was not an easy life transition to make, especially as a graduating senior. I was thinking about prom, graduation, and my summer, and suddenly I had to figure out how to manage diabetes through all of that.
While transitioning into college and learning how to manage T1D along the way, I found comfort in volunteering within the T1D community with JDRF, as well as by starting a chapter of the College Diabetes Network (CDN) on my campus. I have since gone on to do a lot of work in the diabetes community, and will continue to volunteer my time and resources throughout my lifetime.
The CDN has been an amazing resource and opportunity for me, and my chapter has provided me with countless new and exciting opportunities. I have traveled to Boston and Maine to do focus groups and retreats with CDN, volunteered at fundraisers like JDRF Galas and Walks, and interned with my local JDRF chapter in DC – the Greater Chesapeake and Potomac Chapter.
One of my biggest passions and accomplishments has been in the area of ‘Off to College’ events with the CDN. I planned an event on my university campus that brought 14 T1D high schoolers and their parents together to hear from my fellow chapter members and me about the process for going off to college with T1D. My own transition to college was difficult, and I learned a lot of useful information that I can pass on to others to make their lives easier than mine was. I have since participated in many more of these events and made a number of new friends along the way!
I have had a great summer so far with JDRF Advocacy, and I am excited for Children’s Congress and the opportunity to meet so many wonderful young advocates!