When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2001, I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it. I lived in diabetes isolation throughout middle school, high school, and college. In fact, the only way for me to get involved with the diabetes community was to raise money for a walk or bike ride. Even today, when people are first diagnosed they are told to buy a table at a local gala. That’s not community.
For too long, nonprofits have just looked at people with type 1 diabetes as fundraisers instead of seeing them as people—people trying to live their lives with this constantly burdensome, prohibitively expensive, and emotional draining disease. These organizations have always put their priorities ahead of the community members they claim to serve.
In some cases, nonprofits give donations to pharmaceutical corporations, who then sell new drugs or equipment to people with diabetes at a huge profit (using people with diabetes like their own GoFundMe). In other cases, nonprofits lobby against affordable insulin bills that would hurt their pharmaceutical corporation sponsors. There is a widening gap between the goals of diabetes nonprofits and the needs of people with type 1 diabetes.
The Beta Cell Foundation is determined to fill that gap. Since our Board and Advisory Committee members all have diabetes and we don’t take money from pharmaceutical corporations, we are determined to listen to the needs of our own community to develop solutions that help us now.
Our mission is to fund and foster grassroots projects developed by individuals living with type 1 diabetes to educate, empower, and unite our community.
There are huge unmet needs in accessible diabetes education, community networks, and real advocacy, all of which we are working to remedy by developing apps, programs, and networks. You can view them here.
We hope that you’ll utilize these resources and help us continually improve them.
Founder, Beta Cell Foundation
PS If you want to donate to help make these projects a reality, you can do that here too.