Success Stories

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

Kamdyn Wilds' Story

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Kamdyn Wilds

Eight-year-old Kamdyn, who has type 1 diabetes, was enrolled in an after-school Boys & Girls Club program in Gloucester, Virginia.

Before Kamdyn started, her mom, Chelesa, contacted the program's director to talk about Kamdyn's diabetes care needs. The director, who has type 2 diabetes, was supportive and offered to be trained on Kamdyn's care. He told Chelesa that they would watch Kamdyn during the first week-then evaluate how things were going. On Kamdyn's second day in the program, her blood sugar level began to drop a bit, but was still within a normal range. Chelesa explained how to give Kamdyn some gummies to treat the dropping blood sugar. At the same time, a regional Boys & Girls Club Service Director was nearby and overheard what was happening. She decided that Kamdyn posed a safety risk to the program.

At 8:30 p.m. that night, Chelesa received a call and was told that Kamdyn could not return to the program the next day.

Chelesa did not have another option for after school care, so this was a problem, especially on such short notice. Chelesa knew about disability discrimination law and was upset. She knew that her daughter had legal rights and should not have been barred from the program, just because of diabetes.

Chelesa contacted the American Diabetes Association.

She spoke with a Legal Advocate, who confirmed that Kamdyn was protected under federal law. It was illegal to exclude her. Chelesa was happy to confirm that her daughter had legal rights, but believed that it would be hard to challenge the Club's decision on her own. However, she had confidence that the American Diabetes Association would be respected as a national leader, so she decided to write a letter to challenge the Boys & Girls Club decision, explaining that she had received information about Kamdyn's rights from an attorney at the Association.

Chelesa didn't just write the letter to help her daughter. She also wanted to help other children who might be turned away from the program, just because of a disability.

She wanted to educate the program's staff about the law and help get the policy changed.In her letter to the Boys & Girls Club, Chelesa wrote "you have a great program that is a wonderful asset to the community. It should be open to all children, as your mission states." The Boys & Girls Club's regional staff responded the very same day Chelesa's letter arrived. Kamdyn was accepted back into the program. Kamdyn does not currently attend the Boys & Girls Club program, but Chelesa may want to enroll her again in the future. She's happy they'll have that option.

"It's nice being able to use the American Diabetes Association as a powerhouse along with legislation to help keep our children safe and treated fairly. Thanks for all you do." — Chelesa Wilds.

Vaughn Christian Story

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Vaughn Christian

Vaughn Christian of Jacksonville, Florida loves summer camp.

Vaughn, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the fall of 2014, is like millions of others who attend camp each year. They love camp because it's fun, helps build great relationships and offers learning and other experiences that are not available most anywhere else. So, in the spring of 2015, when Vaughn's mother, Kira, got a message from her son's camp saying that he could not attend that summer, she was upset. She was told, "I'm sorry for the bad news. We are not equipped to handle a camper with diabetes." Kira has been a paralegal for years and, with her legal background, believed that Vaughn had rights that made this situation unfair. Kira could not bring herself to tell Vaughn that he couldn't go to camp, especially that it was because of his diabetes. She knew that Vaughn would not handle the news very well.

She wrote, "My son has been begging to go to camp this summer. Telling him he can't go would severely affect his self-esteem. I want him to have a normal camp experience like other kids. Thank you for any legal advice you can provide to help my son."

Kira spoke with a Legal Advocate at the Association and learned that Vaughn did have legal rights.

She was told that, under federal law, Vaughn should be allowed to attend camp. The Legal Advocate also shared helpful resources, such as a sample letter to mail to the camp, tips on how to speak with administrators and hints about negotiating on behalf of her son.

Supplied with this information, Kira was successful.

The camp reversed its policy, made changes to care for Vaughn's diabetes and allowed him to attend. Kira never even told Vaughn what had happened. He just went to camp and had a great time. He had no medical problems at all; things went very well. Having diabetes should never have been an issue in the first place.

"I am so thankful for the American Diabetes Association. I have volunteered to get involved and help others who may not know where to turn when their child is being unjustly discriminated against." — Kira, Vaughn's Mom

Micaiah Ardianto's Story

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Micaiah Ardianto

Three-year-old Micaiah Ardianto, who has type 1 diabetes, attended a local Head Start program in Yamhill County, Oregon. The school had a policy that they felt did not allow them to care for his diabetes. This meant that Micaiah could not attend school without a parent there to do so.

Micaiah's mother, Breeayn, works in the special education field, so she understood the laws that protected children in similar situations. She knew something didn't seem fair.

Micaiah's parents tried to work with the school to change that policy. For almost three, frustrating months they shared information with the school about Micaiah's legal rights. Diabetes is considered a disability under federal law, and the school administration did not understand what that meant. Under the law, the school needed to care for Micaiah's diabetes and could not require a parent to be there. But, the school administrators would still not budge.

So, Breeayn contacted the American Diabetes Association.

After speaking with one of the Association's Legal Advocates, as well as staff from its Portland, Oregon office, she became better informed and then contacted the Head Start regional office in Seattle. Staff in the Seattle Head Start office apologized for what happened at Micaiah's school. They knew that the law was on his side. So, the regional office worked with the local school, and within a short period of time the policy was changed.

The school was ready to care for Micaiah and he was able to return.

Breeayn thinks this was meant to happen to her family. In advocating for her son's rights, the medical care policy was changed for ALL Head Start Schools in Yamhill County, Oregon. Students with medical needs will now have the opportunity to attend school and be kept safe and healthy.

Breeayn feels so strongly about wanting to help other families that she may even start a support group for parents in her local area.

"Everyone at the American Diabetes Association was amazing. From your nurse who was our first point of contact, to your legal team-everyone I spoke with gave me the confidence to fight for what was right. It was a hard battle, but I hope our story will help others who struggle with similar issues in the future." — Breeayn Ardianto

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Read What Others Are Saying About the Legal Advocacy Program

"Without the legal guidance offered by the American Diabetes Association, this matter could have been ignored. But it wasn't ignored. Thank you to everyone who helped to make this program truly safe for every child who has diabetes." — Parent of child with diabetes

"I found you when I was at my worst and, if not for your help, I would have been lost." — Employee 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

"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

"The Association is remarkable for standing up for the rights of people like me who have 'invisible' disabilities that people so often overlook. Thank you, American Diabetes Association, and your amazing Legal Advocates." — Employee with diabetes

"I am very thankful for the American Diabetes Association services to help families make sure their children are safe and treated fairly. I wish all parents caring for children with diabetes were aware of their rights." — Parent of child with diabetes

"I cannot thank you enough for your assistance through this ordeal. I likely would not be employed right now without it. I will use my first check to become an Association member and support your organization." — Employee 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." — Employee 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 1, 2013
  • Last Edited: January 29, 2015

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Diabetes Forecast