Being a teenager is hard. Being a teenager with type 1 diabetes (T1D) is even harder. The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center recognizes that and through the support of our generous donors held a three-day program for local teens with T1D.
Led by child life specialist Kelli Ferguson and social worker Diana Cory, the “Diabetic Teen Squad” (as the group chose to called) bonded over shared experiences, funny diabetes moments, and their hopes and dreams of one day living free of T1D. The program was a mix of group therapy, diabetes education, and fun.
On day one, Kelli and Diana teens asked the teens to fill in the blank, “diabetes is…” and the flood gates opened. “Hard, frustrating, work, sad, mad, vulnerability, scary, stereotype…” the teens said.
“This was a safe space to share challenges and events that have occurred,” Kelli said. “And the teens took that to heart. Clearly they were craving a space to share their feelings with others who understood how difficult it is to be a kid with Type 1.”
During the program the teens went on a behind-the-scenes tour of CNN courtesy of Berrie Center patient and CNN Money anchor Cristina Alesci; enjoyed tasty trail mix while learning to read nutrition labels with Berrie Center pediatric educator Courtney Sahn, RD, and heard the latest in diabetes research from Dr. Rudy Leibel, MD, Christopher J. Murphy Professor of Diabetes and Berrie Center Co-Director.
Through education and outreach programs such as the teen program, the Berrie Center is able provide patients and their families with a first-hand look at current research activity and offer a genuine prospect for a cure.