Messaging Tools

Advocacy Spot Messages
Supports embedding "information spots" about advocacy resources and activities at Association events.

Advocacy Key Messages
For use in volunteer training on supporting advocacy message integrity.

Safe At School Display Ads
PDF files of 2 impactful Safe at School display ads that local market event committees can use in their program books or for use in other local print materials. 2 files are formated for half-page placement and 2 files are formated for full-page placement. Especially relevant for Father of the Year or Gala event programs.

Legal Advocacy Story Bank

Diabetes Discrimination Stories from Articles in Diabetes Forecast®

Sharing real examples of how diabetes discrimination affects lives is one of the most powerful things to do at local events and wherever there is an opportunity to increase awareness. In addition to the more locally-based stories that you spotlight, you are encouraged to also feature stories from this index. Each article is summarized, including the names of those most prominently-featured.

Success Stories

You're not alone. Others have faced - and defeated - discrimination because of diabetes. Here are some recent examples.

Cameron Nicholas

Cameron NicholasDownload a print-ready PDF of this story (82KB)

Cameron Nicholas is a firefighter with the Prichard, Alabama Fire Department. But, having type 1 diabetes almost prevented that from happening.

Cameron had dreamed of becoming a firefighter. He had never let diabetes stop him from staying fit, playing sports in school and living life, so it had never occurred to him that he couldn't achieve this dream. And, his mother, Veronica, had always told him that he "could do anything he wanted."

Lack of Understanding of Laws Protecting People with Diabetes

Becoming a firefighter required passing a physical - and Cameron had passed a number of physicals and endurance tests in the past. But, when he took the required physical for firefighting, he didn't pass. One issue was that the doctor did not understand the laws that protect people who have diabetes, as well as the appropriate medical standards necessary to assess Cameron's readiness for firefighting duties.

Dream Achieved

Cameron was angry and extremely disappointed. So, Veronica contacted the American Diabetes Association (Association). A member of the Association’s Legal Advocacy staff helped Veronica understand the situation, and then educate the doctor. As a result, Cameron was then able to pass another physical. So, he became a firefighter and loves his job! He has now been a firefighter for over a year and says, "never let diabetes stop you from achieving your goals and dreams."

The American Diabetes Association leads the effort to prevent and eliminate discrimination against people who have diabetes at school, at work and in other parts of daily life.

Call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit

Jared's Story

Tracy and Jared Milligan

Download a print-ready PDF of this story (112KB)

Five years ago, Tracy Milligan of Jacksonville, Florida, contacted the American Diabetes Association for help on behalf of her son, Jared.

Tracy and her husband had been told that Jared, a kindergarten student at the time, could not attend his local school unless a family member went to the school whenever he needed care for his type 1 diabetes. Due to his age, Jared could not self-manage his diabetes during the school day.

The only other option provided was to send him to one of just six Duval County schools (out of more than 100 county schools) that had a full-time school nurse available, so-called diabetes schools. Neither option seemed fair, but to keep Jared in his local school, Tracy drove from her office every day for 2½ years to administer his care at school.

"The school district refused to help children with diabetes at 98 elementary schools in my district, reserving just a few for kids with diabetes. We knew it wasn't right."

Fighting the Policy

Tracy decided she wanted to fight this unfair policy, so she contacted the American Diabetes Association. As part of the Association’s Safe at School® campaign, Tracy helped lead the charge to change things, to make sure that all children with diabetes would be medically safe at school.

Safe at School® Victories

A Safe at School® campaign victory occurred in 2009 when the state of Florida passed a law that allows schools to train non-medical personnel to administer diabetes care to students, when a school nurse is not available. In January 2013, another victory occurred when the Duval County School District reversed its policy, allowing students who have diabetes the option of remaining at their local school, with care provided by trained staff.

The American Diabetes Association's Safe at School® campaign Helps Children Who Have Diabetes.

Call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit

Wesley McCann

Wesley McCann

Download a print-ready PDF of this story (96KB)

Five-and-a-half-year-old Wesley McCann is a bright, happy student at Sorrento Elementary in Sorrento, Florida. Wesley, who has type 1 diabetes, loves his school. Now, thanks to intervention by his mother, Stephanie, and help from the American Diabetes Association, he is also much safer at school.

504 Plans document the appropriate diabetes care for children at school, when it's needed. Wesley did not have a 504 Plan in place and Stephanie was told that establishing a 504 plan for him was unnecessary because Wesley was doing well academically and "504 plans are only needed for academic reasons." But, Stephanie knew this was not correct. So, she pushed the school for a 504 meeting.

"My son had already gone six weeks in school without the teachers knowing how to help him if he were to have a low or go unconscious. He was, also, not carrying a meter in school, to be able to check for low blood sugar, especially in a hard lock down situation where no one is allowed to move in the school."

Safer at School with 504 Plan

Now Wesley has a 504 Plan. He carries a bag to school that includes necessary supplies and his teachers are educated about diabetes care, in case the school nurse is not available when he needs help. "Now the school is educated and prepared on what to do to keep my son safe and comfortable. I am very thankful for the American Diabetes Association's services to help families make sure their children are safe and treated fairly."

The American Diabetes Association's Safe at School® campaign Helps Children Who Have Diabetes.

Call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383) or visit

Collin Wadian

Collin Wadian

Download a print-ready PDF of this story (83KB)

Joan Wadian of Massillon, Ohio, was glad that her son's school had a good school nurse. Collin has type 1 diabetes, as well as Down’s Syndrome. He cannot self-manage his diabetes, so someone at school needs to be available to make sure he stays safe at school.

But, even with a full-time nurse at school, Joan found gaps in his care. When the nurse was out, there was nobody to be a back-up. Joan had to go to the school to provide Collin's care. And, the school did not provide care for field trips. It was expected that Joan would simply make room in her schedule to attend those trips. Joan was worried. What would happen if she and the school nurse were not available?

Joan Contacted the American Diabetes Association

She quickly learned that children with diabetes have many rights and an Association Legal Advocate provided important information that helped Joan understand those rights. She then requested that the school set up an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) Meeting to work out how to fill in the gaps for Collin's care.

Collin is Now Safer at School

The school responded right away. School staff and all of Collin's teachers would get diabetes care training. They would hire substitute nurses when the regular nurse was out, and field trips would now be covered. Joan says, "Thanks to you and the American Diabetes Association I feel Collin will be safe at school. I wish all parents caring for children with diabetes were aware of their rights."


Read What Others Are Saying About the Legal Advocacy Program

"It feels very good to go to bat for a cause backed up with solid legal and moral righteousness. Thank you for your time, looking into this matter, and for supplying me with a nice, solid platform to begin our negotiations." — Parent of child with diabetes

"I appreciate all of your advice. As a parent, I was using personal feelings versus acting in a solution-based manner. I really appreciate your assistance." — Parent of a child with diabetes

"Just wanted to tell you thank you for speaking with me last week regarding my patients and the suggestions you provided. I received the packet of information you sent me and will make it available to our patients." — Health care provider

"Thank you very much for the time you spent counseling me last week and for the legal references you sent me today. It was so important for me to make contact with someone both caring, yet professionally objective and wise about how to approach reasonable accommodations at work. It is very hard challenging one's employer on an issue where you feel you have the moral and legal high ground, but do not know the "rules of the game" and what to do at each step. You have given me some options and perspective for which I am grateful." — Worker with diabetes

"I should have called sooner...I think I was being a little too patient. I am very grateful for your support and expertise in this area. I cannot thank you enough!" — Parent of child with diabetes

"Thanks so much for all of your assistance. I can't tell you how much it meant." — Worker with diabetes

"I want to thank you for the time you spent visiting with me on the phone recently. It is extremely encouraging to visit with someone that understands diabetes and is willing to provide information regarding this disease… All of us involved appreciate your willingness to keep an open file. This is the first time the family has experienced a friendly relationship, and we sincerely appreciate your helpful attitude." — Advocate for inmate with diabetes

  • Last Reviewed: October 18, 2013
  • Last Edited: May 12, 2014