Senni Alina and Olivia Rose are out to clear up some misconceptions about a disease that affects millions.
Imagine having a disease that you have to defend. Imagine that, on top of constantly having to prick yourself, count every carb you ingest, and ward off moments of blacking out, you also have to deal with judgmental looks every time you eat something sweet. That is what it’s like to live with Type 1 Diabetes.
Unlike Type 2 Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes is not caused by overdoing it with the Coca-Cola. Type 1 Diabetes is a genetic, chronic condition where the body’s pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin, the hormone which regulates blood sugar. In order to stay alive, people with T1D must carefully regulate their blood sugar by injecting or pumping insulin daily. While Type 2 can be treated and cured with lifestyle changes, Type 1 often leaves people insulin-dependent for life. A cure has yet to be discovered.
Also known as juvenile diabetes, most people are diagnosed with T1D at a very young age. Sonia Sotomayor, the Supreme Court Justice, was diagnosed at the age of 7. Nick Jonas found out at the age of 13. This disease is a reality of the everyday lives of many.
Senni Alina and Olivia Rose, fashion bloggers from Tennessee, both have loved ones whose lives were touched by Type 1 Diabetes. “There was a point in my life where my biggest fear was watching my mom having a low blood sugar episode,” recalls Senni. “Sometimes they were in the middle of the night, or on a ride at Disney World or while driving.” Senni’s mother was diagnosed when she was six years old, and despite receiving warnings from her doctor to never have children, she delivered three healthy babies and has gotten her T1D routine down to a science. “This disease is something she will live with for the rest of her life and she’s still the most positive person I know,” says Senni. “She is the epitome of grace and strength.”
Olivia recounts the perspective she has gained by knowing someone who lives with Type 1 Diabetes as well. “We live in a society where [those with T1D] pay thousands of dollars a month for medicine that is needed to stay alive, when many others are getting unnecessary prescriptions for next to nothing. Then they also live with the stigma that the disease is their fault, when it’s actually genetic and completely out of their control.”
In an effort to break the stigma and to help find a cure, the two have chosen to support JDRF, the nonprofit which is working on finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. 15% of the profits from their latest t-shirt, the “All My Love” design, will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“We would love to use our platform to comfort anyone who lives with T1D. There are so many organizations and individuals who support you throughout your journey to becoming the healthiest and happiest you can be.”
Learn more about how you can help at JDRF.org.