UPDATED: I am currently a Teen Talk leader for my Central Jersey chapter of JDRF. I am looking forward to attending the Gala this summer!
Just living and learning every day.
Erika Szumel, 19, NJ
I am a sophomore Broadcasting student at Seton Hall University in New Jersey but I am spending my summer with JDRF in New York City!
I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of four, and have been living with the disease for 15 years. It has shaped my life in ways that I never thought it could. It has introduced me to some of the most amazing people and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. As I was growing up, I participated in many fundraising and volunteer events with the ADA as well as JDRF. I began to grow closer to JDRF and by my senior year in high school, I started to organize my own events.
I attended the Students with Diabetes National Conference in Tampa, Florida, this May. Not only did I meet several new T1D’s, but I also learned SO much about the diabetes world, how it is changing, and what I can do! It truly was an eye-opening experience and something I plan on attending next year. Through Students with Diabetes, I applied for a diabetes internship with a company in the United States. The leaders of SWD saw something in my application and helped me receive an interview with JDRF in NYC. From there, I was interviewed, and eventually, offered the intern position in the Information Technology department. So that is how I got here! And I still can’t believe it, I am so grateful for this experience.
I also run my own Youtube channel! I like to create fun videos with friends, informational diabetes videos, and one day hope to create some instructional yoga videos. Check it out: www.youtube.com/user/eszumel
Aside from all of this, I have a great passion for life. This passion shows in everything I do, whether it is a small or large task. I like to ask questions and I want to be a voice for the people of the world living with T1D. But I am also a great listener. Listening is how I learn and understand most things in my life.
So I invite you to join me on my journey as a JDRF intern this summer, and I hope to provide you with some guidance, laughter, or maybe some food for thought. Please keep reading, I assure you that this summer will be one to remember.
– the intern with diabetes