Help Emilia: A T1D Cause


Making the most of it

Neil Greathouse saw the shutdown of his pancreas during a crucial time in his life: he was training with the United States Air Force. As part of a flight crew, he endured intense training sessions and knew something was wrong when his body just wasn’t cooperating accordingly. His military career came to an end shortly thereafter.

Neil is well aware that Type 1 diabetes can often get in the way of everyday life and even greater aspirations we might have. While it’s a difficult thing to face, Neil took his diagnosis in stride. He started creating inspiring film content and engaging with other T1Ds online, sharing hope and hilarity and sparking good conversation.

A lot of the work that Neil does has to do with raising awareness for Type 1, helping others understand what diagnosis means, and acknowledging that its not impossible to love the life you live even when your pancreas isn’t functioning. Neil’s outlook is an admirable one, and he’s one of the many examples of awesomeness to come out of the diabetes online community. His mission to help others includes bringing hope to those who might not be so lucky, who might not have the means to manage their diabetes and therefore aren’t able to get to the same place of understanding.

Help Emilia

Every year, Neil leads a group down to Peru to with supplies to help people who don’t have frequent enough access to proper medical care. They see people with everything from joint pain to yes, Type 1 diabetes, who go years without managing their ailments. A lot of these people live in areas so rural and isolated along the Amazon River that there is just no access to necessary supplies. One such town is San Regis.

Last year’s trip saw the group meeting a young woman from San Regis named Emilia, a single mother of two children. She seemed pretty sick from the get go and a glucometer test showed she had elevated blood sugars. A few more tests convinced the group that Emilia was probably in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and needed immediate, intensive medical treatment. Neil’s group was able to get her to a hospital in the larger city of Iquitos, where she was able to receive care. She relocated there temporarily but later retreated to her isolated home village at the behest of family members. Unfortunately, this led to Emilia becoming extremely sick, and in DKA yet again.

Neil’s group heads down to Peru again on July 15, 2019. Their goal is to bring Emilia to a hospital, assure she has the care she needs, and help her relocate to a city like Iquitos that will allow her and her children proximity to more adequate healthcare. Neil is asking that anyone willing and able send extra supplies they might have so that the group can bring them to Peru and get Emilia the help she needs.

“Emilia is just one person but if we can help one person, the entire trip is worth it.”

Watch Emilia’s full story:

WRITTEN BY Jordan Dakin, POSTED 06/26/19, UPDATED 06/26/19

Jordan recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles after earning her BA in English and Film Studies. She is a passionate storyteller, traveler, and lover of people and hopes to use her experience working in tech and as a writer to advocate for the BT1 community. In her spare time, she also enjoys hiking, karaoke, and cooking for friends. Check her out on Instagram: @jordanemilydakin.