I'm Jessica

and I am my #1!

My name is Jessica. I grew up in a small town in South Carolina. I lived with my mother and father, and they completely supported me. During the early years of my childhood, my grandmother passed away from colon cancer after fighting for five years. It was one of the hardest experiences for my dad and I, but she will always be my hero. I played sports, cheered, and danced. High school was such a care-free and exciting time of my life. I was the only child in my household but I had lots of friends. The only worries I had were schoolwork, scoring goals in soccer, and what plans to make for the upcoming weekends. During my senior year I got involved in pageants. I won Miss Marion High School and Miss Marion with my platform being cancer. I researched and spoke multiple times on the subject and listened intently while others spoke on theirs. Many young women had a platform of juvenile diabetes. At the time, I had no idea how much I would appreciate these supporters later in life. While holding the title of Miss Marion, I continued playing soccer and began preparing college applications. During this time, I begin feeling sluggish. I brushed it off and keep going. I was accepted into the University of South Carolina and began planning my future, but little did I know what exactly my “future” would entail. The weeks following my graduation of high school in 2012 were when all the symptoms began: excessive thirst, loss of 24 pounds, lack of energy, infections, and many more. I was in a state of confusion but knew something was wrong. My mom hinted at the idea of diabetes but almost brushed it off as a joke, however, sure enough after a doctor visit, type one diabetes was confirmed. This came as a complete shock considering no one in my family suffered from this disease. My dad was in a state of denial. It took him a while to face the fact that he now had to help another major person in his life fight her disease. At first, my parents as well as myself were scared. However with the help of my family, friends, and doctors I was educated on diabetes and exactly how to control it to prevent future complications. Freshman year was the hardest. I had to juggle a new way of life with testing my sugar and taking insulin, preparing to compete in the Miss South Carolina pageant, and getting use to living away from home at the University of South Carolina. My platform was no longer just cancer, but T1D as well. Everyone was touched by my story and wanted to know how they could volunteer and get involved. I am now preparing for my senior year of college and plan to graduate with a degree in finance and business management. I am a member of Delta Zeta sorority and live a normal college life. I chose to not let diabetes change me as a person. I take one day at a time. I have met others who are challenged with this disease as well and to see them hold the same positive attitude makes me so happy. If I had one piece of advice for those like me with T1D, it would be to stay positive and stay hopeful.

Responses (0)