Hi there, my name is Julie De Vos. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1990 and will soon be celebrating (yes, you read that correctly, celebrating) my 30th diaversary! I celebrate because of the life that diabetes has brought me. Many close friends and career opportunities have happened because of this disease. I’ve been involved in the diabetes community from the beginning, starting with the diabetes summer camp I attended in my first year of diagnosis. I later worked as a staff member at that same camp, providing kids and teens the same experience and opportunities I received. It was through that work the flame ignited, and my advocacy and community work began.
During my teen years and early adulthood, my younger brother was diagnosed with type 1, and later, my mother with type 2. I recognized the difference in treatment, community, and patient navigation my brother and I received versus my mother. My brother and I had a team of healthcare professionals and an already established community. While on the other hand, my mother’s primary care physician diagnosed her and sent on her way. Over the years, I have witnessed the degree of difference between my care and that of my mother. While well-intentioned, there isn’t the same opportunity to connect with a community or the dedicated team of healthcare professionals. Nor are there the same number of type 2 organizations, advocacy, or ambassadors that someone with type 1 has available to them.
While my career began in the type 1 diabetes sphere over 20 years ago, it has expanded to include all types of diabetes. I am currently a community manager for an online diabetes publication, a health coach, and a diabetes educator focusing my work within the community. I hope to share my experiences here and to help continue to build the community that T2DXX has created.