Committed to Advocacy
The 2011 American Diabetes Association’s National Youth Advocate is Madison “Madi” Dodge from Milford, DE.
While she’s new to her role as the National Youth Advocate, Madi is no stranger to the American Diabetes Association. A long-time volunteer, Madi and her family are very active with their local American Diabetes Association helping raise awareness about diabetes and offering support to the newly diagnosed. She’s also the team captain of Madison’s Prayer, her Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes team. “This is my 9th year as captain of the team and each year my team gets bigger,” says Madi.
In addition to raising awareness and funds for the Association, Madi also advocates for those living with diabetes. She writes letters to editors of local newspapers and Members of Congress to help them learn about how diabetes affects her life and how they can help. She also recently attended the Association’s Call to Congress lobbying event in Washington, DC, where she met with Members of Congress from her home state.
There’s a theme in Madi’s story with diabetes. She uses her experience with diabetes to help others.
Madi uses her experience to help kids at the American Diabetes Association’s Sugar-Free Family Weekend Retreat.
Held once a year, SugarFree Family Weekend Retreat is an opportunity for families of children with diabetes to meet and spend time with others who are facing similar challenges of living with diabetes. “It gives kids and teens like me, a chance to meet other kids who understand what it’s like to live with diabetes. I’ve met some of my very best friends there!” she says. “But it also gives parents a chance to meet and talk to other parents.”
In addition to camaraderie, SugarFree Family Weekend Retreat also offers educational sessions on recent advancements in diabetes, research, technology as well as coping strategies for when things aren’t going so well.
Madi plays a role in that. For the past two years, Madi has led a workshop for kids called, Taming My Diabetes Monster Workshop, where she starts by sharing a poem she wrote called “My Diabetes Monster.”
“I want to be sure that people understand that diabetes can be a horrible monster. In fact it is a beast of a disease,” she says. “But I want to convey a message of hope - that you can “tame” your diabetes monster and accomplish anything you want in your life. Diabetes does not confine or define us as long as we don’t let it!”
Madi has a busy year ahead of her as the National Youth Advocate. She wants to get the word out to families about the Association’s Safe at School Campaign and inspire other kids to be an advocate for themselves. “I hope to motivate them to speak up and let their voices be heard when they share their story about living with diabetes.”
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