Team Type 1 was established with the mission to “instill hope and inspiration for people around the world affected by diabetes.”
Team Type 1 is funding scholarships in order to recognize young, talented athletes with Type 1 diabetes who demonstrate an ability to balance both academic and sporting commitments, promote good health with successful management of their diabetes through exercise, and support families already burdened with additional expenses associated with diabetes care.
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The selection process for applications is based on the following criteria:
- The applicant has Type 1 diabetes
- The applicant is a competitive athlete
- The applicant maintains a GPA of 3.0 or better
- The applicant wants to use their sports as a platform to inspire
- The applicant attends (or will attend) an accredited NCAA and NAIA institution
- The applicant continues to compete in an NCAA and NAIA sport
- The applicant commits to being available for at least two Team Type 1 speaking opportunities (at diabetes camps, conferences, or other events) to raise awareness about diabetes management and to inspire people with diabetes to better manage their diseas
Meet the Global Ambassadors
For the 2015-16 school year the Team Type 1 Foundation awarded 58 athletic scholarships to NCAA athletes with type 1 diabetes as part of its Global Ambassador program, more than tripling the number of scholarships granted last year. The Global Ambassador program aims to foster young leaders in diabetes, not only providing financial scholarships, but also training on becoming visible advocates for the diabetes community and role models for the next generation of young type 1 athletes. 58 applicants received funding, with 5 receiving $5,000, 5 receiving $2,500, and 51 receiving $1,000 – for a total of $85,500 in funding. The current awardees span 13 different sports – including football, soccer, swimming and more.
Hunter Sego is originally from Madison, IN and plays football as a first-year student at DePauw University. Prior to his diagnosis a month before his 8th birthday, Sego remembers a period of time where he was constantly thirsty, wetting the bed and feeling sick at school. Shortly after, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the hospital. The initial challenge he faced was fitting in with his peers. He compares his inability to eat like his classmates and constantly checking levels to having asthma: he felt it was taking him away from the things he loved to do.
Although he was afraid his diagnosis would keep him from playing football, the support from his coaches and doctors kept him going. He had a deal with his doctors: as long as he managed his diabetes, they would support his athletic dreams. Because he was always told to chase his dreams, he never saw his condition as an obstacle.
Similar to other athletes with type 1, Sego says diabetes taught him responsibility and self control. Since he managed his diabetes independently at home, his transition to a university setting hasn’t changed much. He has explained his condition to his coaches and roommates and because so many people have grown up knowing someone living with diabetes, he says his condition has never been an issue with his team.
Even before his involvement with TT1, Sego has been deeply rooted in increasing awareness for the type 1 community. Having gone to Congress multiple times to speak to U.S. representatives and senators, he has made news for type 1 diabetes with the passing of the Safe at School Act, or “Hunter’s Law,” a piece of legislation that now allows all students to carry and administer supplies wherever they are.
Sego hopes that with the continuous improvements in technology and resources, there will be more progress made in developing countries where access to medicine and diabetes education is lacking.
William Bridgeman is from Columbus, IN and currently plays soccer at Hanover College. Prior to his type 1 diagnosis at the age of nine, Bridgeman remembers being sick for a week. What felt like the stomach flu led to more serious care after he lost 20 pounds. He remembers having a strong sensation to go swimming, which is a feeling many say they experience during diagnosis. At diagnosis, his blood sugar levels read higher than 1,000.
Playing soccer since he was 5 years old, Bridgeman was getting ready to start on a travel team when he was diagnosed. Despite his condition, he continued playing. He was also a Cub Scout, but decided to give it up to dedicate more time to managing his diabetes and playing soccer. Since Bridgeman’s doctor also lived with type 1 diabetes and played soccer, Bridgeman never felt limited by his condition. To him it was just one more thing he needed to manage.
The transition from parental support while living at home to an independent university setting was an adjustment, but Bridgeman had done it successfully. He advises all athletes with similar obstacles to continuously check their blood sugar and make the necessary corrections
Rather than looking at his condition as a challenge, Bridgeman looks at type 1 diabetes as something that has made him more responsible. Knowing he has accomplished this much with type 1 diabetes serves as reassurance that he can handle multiple things at once.
As part of the TT1 Global Ambassador Program, Bridgeman hopes to increase awareness for the lack of resources for people with type 1 diabetes in developing countries.
Jake Gibbons is from Haddam, CT and is currently a swimmer at Yale University. While many people with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed at a relatively young age, TT1 Ambassador Jake Gibbons was diagnosed last year at the age of 18. Although his diagnosis came as a shock to him and his family — shortly after a sudden drop in weight — Gibbons took one week off from training to thoroughly understand his situation before he got right back into the pool.
As an athlete with strict diet and training regimen prior to diagnosis, Gibbons believes the transition into managing his diabetes was easier for him than it might be for others. Because of his experience, Gibbons is dedicated to using the TT1 platform to connect with kids and families in the type 1 community to provide insight and inspiration.
Having just started his college career at Yale University, managing his diabetes away from home has been more difficult. But with strong support from his coaches and teammates, Gibbons is adjusting to the scheduling of a university setting. Reflecting on his own experiences, he advises athletes who have just been diagnosed to not be afraid of asking for help; doctors, coaches and teammates are genuinely interested in being supportive.
While at Yale, Gibbons hopes to bridge the strong mission of the TT1 with the recognition of the Yale name to create new awareness for the type 1 community.
Dominique Cirnigliaro is originally from Hudson, FL and currently plays soccer at Florida Southern College. She was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the third grade and she remembers feeling like her life would never being the same. From getting used to multiple insulin shots a day to live and eating snacks while in class, Cirnigliaro felt different. She remembers going to birthday parties and feeling like she had to eat differently from her friends. Because of this change, she spent the beginning of her diagnosis in denial thinking if she ignored it, her condition would go away. Although she was playing soccer when she was diagnosed, she wasn’t playing competitively. She decided to take a few months off while she got used to managing her condition before taking the next step.
Being relatively young upon diagnosis, she never thought too much about diabetes impacting her ability to play; but when one doctor advised Cirnigliaro she shouldn’t continue playing, she switched doctors. She loved the game too much to quit and instead, worked closely with her new doctor, a medical professional also living with type 1 diabetes, to manage her condition as an athlete.
To ensure a smooth transition from managing her diabetes at home to a university setting, she took the appropriate steps to inform her teammates and roommates of her condition, should they ever need to help. Apart from that, managing her diabetes on her own has been great because it has taught her greater independence.
While part of the TT1 program, Cirnigliaro wants everyone to know diabetes shouldn’t be a reason to give up. She wants to be an example that anything is possible, even with type 1 diabetes. She hopes to inspire kids like her who have just been diagnosed, and may be in denial feeling like the odd one out — it gets better. Through her achievements, she wants to change the way people view type 1 diabetes.
Makenna Gandara is originally from Woodland Hills, CA and currently plays soccer at the University of California, San Diego. One month after her 13th birthday, she was at a routine check-up when the doctor noticed an irregularity in her urine sample. That same night, after her blood results came back, Gandara’s parents informed her of her diagnosis. Other than a good support system, she had little to no knowledge of type 1 diabetes, and her biggest concern was continuing to play club soccer and junior-varsity volleyball. After her doctors educated her on all the steps she needed to take, Gandara competed with her volleyball team a few days after her diagnosis.
Living with type 1 diabetes has taught Gandara stronger responsibility. She feels great knowing she can continue to do the things she loves and that it doesn’t have to hold her back from being her best. Although adapting to the management process can be difficult in the beginning, she wants others to know they can live a good life with type 1 diabetes.
As a mentor and TT1 Ambassador, Gandara wants to help individuals living with type 1 diabetes in developing countries. She considers herself fortunate for having great doctors and resources upon diagnosis and believes everyone should have access to the same treatment regardless of where they live.
Benjamin Bates is from Sarasota, FL and currently plays soccer at Lehigh University. Diagnosed two months before his 16th birthday, Bates remembers a sudden drop in weight, constant fatigue and thirst leading up to his diagnosis. Not long before a team trip to Georgia, Bates’ visit to a doctor regarding knee pain resulted in him being advised not to play soccer. This only encouraged Bates to prove himself on and off the field: he could be the same person, even after his diagnosis.
Although his levels were great during the summer, transition into a university setting has been tough, but manageable for Bates. He notes being on a college team makes it harder, since it’s not as easy sitting out for long periods of time. Being surrounded by new people, harder academics and athletics is an adjustment.
Once all his technologies broke upon his arrival to Lehigh, Bates thought about how difficult the management, or lack thereof, of type 1 diabetes supplies must be in developing countries. Through TT1, he hopes to build relationships with individuals with type 1 diabetes in order to provide help and inspiration to those in need.
Using his experience with soccer, which played such a positive role throughout his diagnosis, Bates hopes to provide the inspiration children with type 1 diabetes need to know anything is possible. With proper management, Bates states there isn’t anything that can’t be done with type 1 diabetes.
Amanda St. Cyr is originally from Bel Air, MD and currently plays lacrosse at University of Mary Washington. St. Cyr was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of three, five weeks after her the diagnosis of her older sister. When her sister was diagnosed, her mom had made checking levels a fun process with a “guess the number” game the entire family would play. One day when they were playing, St. Cyr’s levels were at 540, leading to her diagnosis.
As an athlete competing with diabetes, St. Cyr says she has always had to be more cautious than her teammates before a game, or a meet. Even though she has occasionally had to come off the field and treat herself, she has managed her condition well.
St. Cyr says sports have made her independent and consequently,managing her diabetes in college has been a smooth transition. A close relationship with her teammates has provided her with a strong support system, in addition to reinforcement from her friends, family and doctors. Because she has had such positive experience with her condition, she hopes to change the poor conditions for those living with type 1 diabetes in developing countries.
While part of the TT1 program, she hopes to inspire and motive children and families who are dealing with recent diagnosis. She wants to tell her story to motivate and increase awareness. She advises all athletes with type 1 diabetes to never give up. Living with type 1 diabetes is hard but with responsibility, dedication and commitment, she believes anything is possible.
Felix Petermann is originally from Germany but is currently living in San Jose, CA while playing soccer at San Jose State University. Diagnosed at 16, he had already begun his athletic career playing for the academy of a second-division pro team in Germany. Playing against first-division youth teams, Petermann was scheduled to be the starting goalkeeper. When his doctor told him he wouldn’t be able to play competitive soccer again following his diagnosis, it crushed his world. It wasn’t until he received a second opinion that he got back into soccer.
Although he had tremendous support from his family, friends and teammates, Petermann had a difficult time accepting his condition and the impact it had on his life. It wasn’t until meeting Ulrike Thurm, a well-known diabetes expert in Germany, that he began seeing type 1 diabetes in a different light.
His biggest challenge living with diagnosis was his lack of information and insight on the condition. Because of his tight support group, increased resources and new technology his transition became less difficult. He continues to make adjustments in his management as he gets used to the differences in nutrition values between the States and Germany but it’s getting easier every day.
Being part of the TT1 program has shown Petermann the importance of increasing awareness about type 1 diabetes. As a Global Ambassador he is part of a bigger group of people with people with similar stories, and hopes to use this opportunity to make a difference in countries where resources are scarce.
A quote by Dale Evans changed the way he views type 1 diabetes and he hopes it can have the same impact on athletes like him: “Life is not over because you have diabetes. Make the most of what you have, be grateful.”
Daniel List is originally from Colorado Springs, CO and plays football Colorado State University, Pueblo. Diagnosed at the age of three, List was introduced to the management of type 1 diabetes at a young age. Having to check his levels five to six times a day made him feel different than other kids in his class. During his early years of high school, managing his condition became much easier.
Although he wasn’t playing any sports upon his diagnosis, he was never afraid to compete with his cross-country team or play football. He experienced a lowered A1C as a result of his participation in sports and his doctors were fully supportive of his athletic career. Like others living with type 1 diabetes, List experiences highs and lows, but he has never allowed his condition to get in the way of his aspirations — both on and off the field.
Being used to particular home-cooked meals, List is adjusting to the cafeteria food found at universities but is using his glucose monitor to manage his condition while away from home. His athletic trainers and teammates remain well informed on his condition, should they ever need to assist List on the field.
List hopes his experience with diabetes inspires those who are frustrated growing up with the condition. He wants to use his accomplishments in football to inspire kids and families who have just been diagnosed.While part of the TT1 community, List wishes to band with other athletes with type 1 diabetes to raise awareness for the type 1 community. He wants to spread the message that anything is possible with type 1 and it shouldn’t get in the way of anyone’s dreams.