Success Stories

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

Paige and Clare's Story

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Paige and Claire picture

Sending a child off to college can be scary. Countless fears may run through a parent's mind, but worries that their child will be medically-safe should not be one of them. Paige is a sophomore in college and has type 1 diabetes. Paige was happily settled in a university dorm for her first 1 1/2 years of college. Her roommate knew about Paige's diabetes and was instructed about what to do if Paige had an emergency. All seemed well.

Then a scary incident in November 2014 changed things.

Paige, an NCAA university athlete, was due to attend a team workout. When a teammate noticed that Paige had not shown up, she rushed to her dorm to check on things. Paige was not awake. She had severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and was unconscious. Her teammate called Paige's mother, Clare, and, with her help by phone, managed to wake Paige up. Afterward, Paige's roommate in the dorm felt uncomfortable and was not willing to help in the event of a future emergency. So, Paige decided she needed to move out of the dorm and live with someone willing and able to assist her if in the event of a another emergency.

Page requested to be able to move out of the dorm, but University Housing informed her that there would be a $1,000 penalty for leaving before the lease was over. She explained the situation, and her medical needs, but the university would not budge.

Paige and Clare contacted the American Diabetes Association.

A Legal Advocate at the Association (a lawyer experienced with diabetes discrimination) informed them about Paige's legal rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Fair Housing Act. They learned that terminating the dorm lease early could be considered a "reasonable accommodation" for Paige's disability. The Legal Advocate helped write a letter to the university asking for the $1,000 fine to be removed. It was!

"My daughter and I were blessed to receive assistance from a Legal Advocate. Her understanding of our frustration, knowledge of the laws and passion for helping Paige was comforting. Paige and I are happy to assist the American Diabetes Association financially while continuing our advocacy." Clare, Paige's Mother.

Hayle Doyle Story

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Haley Doyle Picture

Haley Doyle is a vibrant young woman in her early 20s who was diagnosed with diabetes halfway through her plebe (freshman) year at the United States Naval Academy. Sadly for Haley, after learning of her diabetes diagnosis and, despite being a varsity rower on the school's crew team and having above-average grades, the Navy recommended that she be "separated" (dismissed) from the Academy.

Feeling that she had been treated unfairly, just because she has diabetes, Haley reached out to the American Diabetes Association for help.

With the help of the Association's Legal Advocacy program, Haley learned about her rights and refused to take no for an answer. Along with support from her parents, friends and coaches, Haley fought through medical boards to be able to stay at the Naval Academy.

As a result, Haley was able to stay in school and achieve her dream of graduating from the Naval Academy with the Class of 2014.

Unfortunately, because she has diabetes, the Navy wouldn’t commission Haley. That meant that she could not pursue part of her dream: to serve her country as a United States Navy Pilot.

A Different, but Exciting Path

Instead, she had to take a different path. Haley now works as an independent contractor for the U.S. Naval Academy, on a NASA-funded project headed to the International Space Station in 2016.

"The support I received from the American Diabetes Association gave me confidence to fight for what I believed in. I couldn't let go of the Naval Academy. I had worked so hard to get there and made so many lifelong friends. The thought of being kicked out for having type 1diabetes, something beyond my control, was heartbreaking. It just wasn't an option." Haley Doyle

Lance Paoli

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Lance Paoli

Millions of teenagers have diabetes, and many self-manage their diabetes care at school with no problems.

Lance Paoli, of Maumelle, Arkansas was one of those students. He had been successfully handling his own diabetes care at school for several years. But, at the beginning of his sophomore year in high school, a new school principal started a policy that no longer allowed students to self-manage their medications, or even carry their own medical supplies at school. All medicines had to be kept in the school nurse's office.

Lance’s mother, Susan, felt that Lance’s health would suffer during the school day under this new policy.

Susan met with school leaders about this situation, but the principal would not change the policy. She filed a complaint with the Pulaski County School District and, around this time, Lance was, also, suspended from school for testing his blood sugar level in class.

So, Susan contacted the American Diabetes Association for help!

A Legal Advocate at the Association gave her information about the legal rights of students who have diabetes. Susan then shared this information with the school principal, who reversed the new policy, dropped Lance’s suspension and, once again, allowed students like Lance to self-manage their diabetes at school. Susan was happy to know that Lance would be medically safe at school into the future.

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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