Power of One
My name is Jonathan Berman. I am 15 years old. I live beyond type 1 … by being an advocate for diabetes research to help scientists find a cure for everyone living with type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed in 2007, when I was 7 years old. I remember going trick-or-treating and then fainting in the bathroom in the early morning. My mom took me to the doctors and then to the hospital and I was bummed I was missing my first grade play! Then the ER Doctor came in and said, “It’s type 1 diabetes.” I remember not knowing what that meant, but I found out really fast when I got my first injection. After being diagnosed, we found out I had a tendency to pass out around needles. I know, just my luck that I had to learn how to adjust to needles when I was first diagnosed. But I encouraged my local Children’s Hospital to put reclining chairs in all of their endocrine offices, so when children and teens come in to get a pump or continuous glucose monitor (CGM), they can feel more comfortable and safe during the process. I’m glad they liked the idea—the chairs are really comfortable!
As we all know there are good days and bad days, but I really try to stay focused on the positive and just do what I have to do and be myself.
My mom has always encouraged me to believe in the concept, “Be a part of the change you want to see in the world.”
So every year I raise funds for a cure for different diabetes organizations. I try to make it fun and unique (local movie theatre night, shoe-drive benefitting families in Africa, an online store for a cure, school fundraisers and most recently The Power Of One campaign). With the help of my family and friends I realized that the sky is the limit with finding ways to raise awareness and funds for diabetes research. It’s really cool to be a part of something that makes a difference in the world.
In 2012, when my family visited Miami, Florida, we reached out to The Diabetes Research Institute to learn more. We were invited for a tour. It changed my life that day. To see the scientists in their labs, to see islet cells through the microscope, to be up close and personal with the scientists that are working day and night on a cure for everyone, was an experience I will never forget. It gave me new hope for a cure. I recommend everyone living with type 1 diabetes to tour DRI. While there, I also signed up for a class they offer called “Mastering Your Diabetes.” It was another game-changer for me. I spent a week with other children and teens living with type 1, learning how to better manage my diabetes. I learned about carb counting, diabetes apps, incorporating exercise and more. I made life-long friends living with type 1 diabetes. It was also the place where I learned how to give myself my own insulin injections and I learned the importance of managing my disease and living well. When I left the DRI, I left a more confident person with even more hope for a cure and wanting to give back to the DRI.
Because the DRI is in Florida, I came up with the idea of custom flip-flops for a cure, which was a lot of fun and it eventually led me to create an online store for a cure filled with DRI merchandise!
When I saw how I could make a difference and be part of a cure, I wanted to do more. In 2013, inspired by what President Roosevelt did in 1940, by asking everyone to donate one dime (leading to the March of Dimes and a cure for Polio), I created The Power Of One campaign … One person, One dollar, One step closer to a cure. In July, 2014, I launched my campaign for the DRI at the Children With Diabetes—Friends For Life Conference. I started asking everyone I knew and met to donate $1. And then I asked them to ask everyone they knew to donate $1. The response was amazing. I even asked local businesses and schools to use PowerOfOne canisters to collect $1. To date, The PowerOfOne has raised $12,000 for the DRI and $5,000 for JDRF and it keeps going strong. I’ve made many new friends by choosing to be an advocate, too. I hope more teen advocates get involved so they can experience being part of something that makes a difference in the world and experience what it is like to Live Beyond Type 1, by doing something you like to do while advocating and helping scientists find a cure!