Whether it be understanding hospital lingo, acquiring the necessary supplies, or following the progression of ever-changing technology, the life of a diabetic is filled with the constant, urgent need for self-education.
The College of Diabetic Network (CDN) is starting a chapter at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) with hopes to provide a place for students to come and learn in a safe environment that fosters a comfortable environment for diabetics and non-diabetics to understand the complexities of the chronic condition.
The organization has not had an official first meeting yet, with hopes that even more students show interest in finding a time to meet in the next coming weeks. Whether students are navigating their diabetes on campus already, newly diagnosed diabetics or simply interested in being educated, the chapter curriculum can be curated to the interest of its members.
Senior nursing major Devon Fortier and junior animal science major Corinna Coulton are the current co-presidents of the organization. Both Fortier and Coulton have been diabetic for 12 years and have bonded over the silent struggles that diabetes has had on their day-to-day lives.
“Learning how other people cope is so helpful, there are so many things I have to monitor and when I meet someone else with diabetes and I can share ideas with them it really helps to understand this life-long chronic condition,” Coulton said. “It’s like an instant connection, it’s like someone else who understands your language.”
The two both sought relief and connection in sharing their struggles with peers who could understand and sympathize. They hope the UNH CDN chapter provides a same safe space that allows for conversation, collaboration and education.
“Being a young adult is hard enough, but being a young adult with diabetes and trying to navigate college can be strange waters,” Fortier said. “Having a conversation and learning the rationale of eating maybe this snack instead of that sneak when your blood sugar is plummeting is so beneficial because there is so much science in addition to the social aspect of diabetes that we need to know as diabetics.”
Though the UNH chapter has been inactive for the past two years, the College of Diabetic Network is a national non-profit organization with chapters all across America that serve thousands of students, their families and their support network. Their mission is to help promote a healthy, non-compromised life for young adults with type 1 diabetes by facilitating peer connections, providing resources, and sharing impassioned and educated advice.
“The College of Diabetic Network is really just an amazing resource to have in general cause it’s this whole network of people who know what you’re going through and want to help and discuss” Fortier said. “And if we get this going it’s going to be really cool because since CDN is a national non-profit we can get assistance, ideas, sponsorships and cool swag.”
Fortier and Coulton are both attending a walk in Manchester this coming Sunday, hosted by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that is using research and advocacy to work towards curing, treating and preventing type 1 diabetes in children and adults. The event shares education on diabetes technology companies, raises money towards research and is a fun family event with diabetic friendly treats and games. Both Fortier and Coulton hope that through collaboration with other students and organizations they can bring events like this walk to the UNH campus.
The UNH chapter of College of Diabetics Network hopes to spark interest amongst students and start to build a cohesive club community this fall. For more information, students can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.