I have always been drawn to empowerment. Growing up, I loved the theatre, I loved the ballet, I loved all forms of performance. I think that the primary reason for this was because of how powerful and confident the performers always seemed.
From a very early age, I knew what my purpose was. I was meant to inspire and empower others in this life…. somehow. To me, that was a fact that was never second guessed. The challenge, as it would prove itself to be going forward, was to find out how exactly I would manifest my purpose.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of fourteen. I have lived with the disease for over half of my life now. For a while, my own ability to embrace my inner power felt like it had been robbed from me.
I began to tell stories. It was my way of reaching out, despite my antisocial nature. I told stories through acting in film & television, which eventually escalated into writing fiction, screenplays, and journalism. I told fictional stories as well as the real stories of others – but all the while, my own true story was being written simultaneously.
Organizations such as JDRF and Beyond Type 1 gave me the chance to connect to others who had similar, yet very unique, inner struggles. I became involved in advocacy initiatives that allowed me to engage with these people and to share my own experiences. I began to write for Beyond Type 1, helping others share their own stories with the world. I felt the immense gratification from both sides of the coin, theirs and mine.
This was empowerment, I thought – impacting others with chronic illnesses was, as I realized, what made me feel alive.
The day that KNOW Foods partnered with Beyond Type 1’s Bike Beyond initiative was the day that the puzzle pieces that made up my life would finally and seamlessly come together. I tried this new and interesting healthy food company’s product – low-carb, gluten-free, wheat-free, and non-gmo?! It did not spike my blood sugar and it gave me a truly sustaining energy throughout my days. I knew I had to become a part of this – and so I did.
KNOW Foods’ Founder & CEO, Steve Hanley, recognized my purpose. He recognized how my experiences, leading up to this, would make me the perfect candidate to take on the title of Senior Director of Alliances. I would take the helm would it came to partnerships – with an emphasis on nonprofit organizations that focus on chronic illnesses/disorders such as Beyond Type 1, Beyond Celiac, College Diabetes Network, Autism Hope Alliance, and the list will go on!
I made a vow to myself after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I vowed to make my #1 priority to live my healthiest life, always and forever, and to help others do the same, even those who were not living with a chronic illness. Everything else would come second.
Today, I can confidently say that I am living out my purpose – it simply took realizing that Type 1 diabetes was the center piece of my puzzle – the most important piece.