In the spring of 2005, I graduated from high school Lucky Number 13 out of my class of more than 620 people. It was the culmination of a great deal of hard work...AP classes to the max, newspaper Editor-In-Chief, Marching Band Drum Major, internship at Boeing, bellchoir director for my church, etc, etc. But the number 13 was less about what I had accomplished and more about what it meant for my future. That lucky spot allowed me the chance to attend Arizona State University for free (actually, they paid me!) where I majored in Aerospace Engineering!
You might be wondering what this has to do with Type 1 Diabetes or Diabetes awareness in general. Well, a lot actually. One of my main goals for this blog is to show others with Diabetes that dreams are possible. Just because you have a disease that naturally sets up road blocks doesn't mean that you should give in and turn around. It's hard sometimes to push back and stand up to the man, but its better than living the "woe-is-me" or "I wish I could do that" life. If you let an autoimmune disease control your decisions and stifle your dreams, you have let Diabetes win.
When I decided that I wasn't going to let Diabetes rule my life, doors started opening up. I had amazing leadership opportunities in high school, I was accepted into Aerospace Engineering, I graduated with zero student loan debt, I was hired straight out of school, I was blessed with an amazing support group at that job...they stood behind me when the FAA was difficult, they never questioned my abilities while flying or in the altitude chamber or in the helicopter dunker...and now, I am working hard at NASA, proving that a Type 1 Diabetic can fly the International Space Station.
|Bonus points for spotting the Army guy ;-)|
I hope these little nuggets inspire others to push the boundaries Diabetes creates. Take it from me...it's soooooooo worth it to break free!! I would love to hear other breaking free stories ;-)