Mollie T. and Jackie J. Singer, their mom Jackie Singer and their aunt, Mollie Miller founded the Diabetic Angels in 1998. The four of us realized we needed to do something after young Mollie became the victim of discrimination; it seriously impacted all of our lives and required immediate attention. Ultimately, these demoralizing incidents became the catalyst for creating the Diabetic Angels, an inspiring group created to prevent others from also being singled out and/or ostracized, just because they had diabetes.
The purpose of the Diabetic Angels was to reduce, if not eliminate, the fear that surrounds diabetes by providing educational assistance, raising diabetes awareness, offering support for those who suffer with diabetes and networking opportunities for their family and friends. This magical force of people who love those who suffer with diabetes are…The Diabetic Angels!
Years ago, Mollie and Jackie were 10-years-old and everything was good…”We enjoyed school, had awesome friends and were becoming increasingly more involved with our advocacy, fundraising and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, life was great…until we found out the hard way that diabetes was painful in more ways than just shots. The incident that led to the creation of the Diabetic Angels came about after we were invited to a friend’s 10th birthday party. Thrilled, we ran home to tell mom about the sleepover and the next day all we talked about was the fun things we were going to do. As usual, we sat with our friends, everyone in their regular seat and at the same table. The lunchroom was it’s usual loud self, but then as more and more of us began eating a calm came over the room.
However, the silence didn’t last long because the birthday girl took advantage of the moment, stood up and looked across the table at us and matter-of-factly said, ‘Mollie I have to uninvited you to my birthday party…my mom said Diabetics are a hassle, but Jackie you can still come!’ We were stunned into silence, but Mollie was humiliated to tears, there was nowhere to hide, nowhere to run. I, Jackie, did my best to console Mollie, but no amount of comforting was going to ease the pain. This wasn’t the first time something like this happened, but it was the worst incident. Somehow, we made it through the rest of the day. We tried smiling and did our best to put up a brave front, but when we got in mom’s car the two of us just started sobbing. My heart broke for my sister, I felt so helpless, and it was obvious that at this time, nothing I said or did would undo the damage. Mom looked at us and instead of driving off, pulled the car over and seeing how devastated we were, made us tell her why we were crying. As I explained I could see the pain in her eyes; it was the same way I felt: angry and powerless, and above all unable to protect Mollie. However, mom immediately began to help us correct the injustice.
First, mom contacted the parents of this child and explained to them that she understood they had the right to invite anyone they wanted to their child’s birthday party, but to tell one child, and in particular, Mollie, that she was a hassle because she was a diabetic, was out of line. Mom went on to explain why Mollie was not a hassle, as she was a well-managed diabetic, who knew exactly how to take care of herself. Furthermore, mom said her twin sister also knew how to help Mollie and she was more then capable of handling almost any situation, which she had done on more then one occasion. Our friend’s mother agreed that she didn’t know about diabetes, admitting that she had made a mistake and didn’t mean to hurt our feelings.
Mom let us digest what happened for a few days and come to terms with our emotions and then she sat us down and the four of us, Aunt Mama, the two of us and mom talked about what happened, why we thought it happened and what, if anything, we could do about it. At first, we didn’t think we could do anything to make it better, but the more we talked with mom and Aunt Mama, the more we realized that maybe there was a way of preventing other young people from experiencing this kind of humiliation and pain. After having talked for hours, mom explained to us that people weren’t intentionally cruel. She told us that she believed the reason people say hurtful things such as, “Diabetics are a hassle,” is a direct result of ignorance and fear based on misinformation. All of a sudden, we understood what she was saying. We realized there really was something we could do to stop the ignorance and the fear.
The sadness we had been feeling for days began to diminish, as inspiration and hope replaced our grief and anger. By the end of the weekend, we were feeling empowered and motivated to take on the challenge of educating everyone who crossed our path about the reality of diabetes. We believed that if we could teach our friends, our peers, and our classmates, they in turn would educate their parents, their friends, and their peers…and so began the concept of the Diabetics Angels, we would teach others so they could be a Diabetic’s Angel!
Mom helped us understand that we couldn’t change what happened, but that dwelling on it would only bring about more sadness and accomplish nothing. She told us we needed to take this negative situation and turn it into a positive force, and that in actuality this incident was a blessing in disguise. The truth is that the embarrassment, humiliation and sorrow we felt left a scar, but it is also true that the wound healed when we found hope in the idea of changing the world one friend at a time.
Over the next few months, we mounted an attack on ignorance. We invited our classmates to join us in knowing more about diabetes than most adults (which sounded like a lot of fun at the time!). We asked them to agree to learn the basics of diabetes, what it meant to have normal, low, or high blood sugar, as well as, the symptoms of high or low blood sugar and then how to respond in case of a diabetic emergency. Furthermore, we asked them to agree to become diabetic advocates, which included writing their congressional representatives regarding the funding of diabetes research and technology.
The Diabetic Angels also raised funds for medical research by asking people to sponsor them, as they joined our Walk Team, Mollie’s Diabetic Angels, in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s (JDRF’s) annual ‘Walk To Cure Diabetes.’ In the end, we had one of the most popular clubs in school and our friends became Mollie’s Diabetic Angels, with perks that included all of the Diabetic Angels joining us when we made public appearances. What started as an initiative with 7 girls quickly grew to become one of the hottest clubs in school. Even thought learning about diabetes was a serious subject, our meetings were cool, which helped us put the fun back in FUNdraising!! For example, we held meetings at the local water park, on a camping trip, as well as, at our house with a sleepover and a pizza party. Our objective was met, we made learning about diabetes interesting and fun and in turn, the new DA’s shared their knowledge with everyone who crossed their paths, one “Angel” even used the knowledge she gained to save her grandfather’s life…that alone made the formation of the “Diabetic Angels” worthwhile.
Since the first meeting in 1998, our lives have changed dramatically. The Diabetic Angels grew from 10 children in one city to thousands of members on 6 continents and have had a positive impact on all who suffer with diabetes, their families, and their friends. Today, we are proud to say our mission to reduce the ignorance and fear that surrounds diabetes and raise awareness and funding for diabetes research…is succeeding!
And so, as the Diabetic Angels move forward, we leave you with the meaningful thoughts from two of our heroes, people who have inspired us and hopefully will also inspire you. From Mother Theresa, Jackie finds inspiration in her words, ‘There is a tremendous strength that is growing in the world through the sharing together, praying together, suffering together, and working together.’ This is true for us and our friends, both old and new…and I, Mollie, love Albert Schweitzer’s quote, ‘Do something wonderful, people may imitate it,’ I can only hope so!”
We have spent many years imitating the good deeds of people we love and respect and it is our dream to help cure diabetes, but also for the “Diabetic Angels” to have a rippling effect of kindness and giving that spreads around the world. We, the founders of the Diabetic Angels are here to do our part, but also to help others working diligently in the diabetes community to reach our ‘mutual’ objective: to improve the quality of life for all who suffer with diabetes and to achieve the ultimate goal…the cure!
When you become a Diabetic Angel you will learn the basics of diabetes, including what diabetes is, what it means to have low or high blood sugar and how to distinguish between the two. You will also learn why diabetics need insulin, along with how and why everyone, especially diabetics, should eat nutritiously and exercise regularly. You will also learn how to recognize and handle a diabetic emergency and how to be a diabetic advocate. With this knowledge you will no longer fear diabetes, as a matter of fact, you will be admired and recognized as someone’s Diabetic Angel!
Want to be a hero? When you become a Diabetic Angel and work to help cure diabetes, you are every diabetic’s hero! D-Angels demonstrate character, credibility, and compassion, the foundation of the Diabetic Angels. D-Angels develop leadership skills, gain self-confidence and raise their self-esteem. You will meet new people and make new friends, learn how to be heard by Congress and how to raise funds to help cure diabetes.
Diabetic Angels offer hope and encouragement and inspire others to follow in their footsteps. Why become a Diabetic Angel? Because being a DA gives you the opportunity to experience the kind of love and appreciation that you can only feel when you give of yourself to help another!
A Diabetic Angel is anyone who… Dares to have fun, Dares to be Cool, and Dares to help cure Diabetes! DA’s are grade-schoolers, middle-schoolers, high school and college students, and yes-even adults.
A Diabetic Angel is that very special person who passionately cares about others and is willing to learn about diabetes and support a diabetic. D-Angels are celebrities, politicians, teachers, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, classmates, best friends, co-workers and anyone, who wants to improve the very challenging life of someone they love, a friend, a peer and sometimes a stranger. You can be a Diabetic Angel!
The Diabetic Angel’s Mission Statement…
Help CURE Diabetes through Advocacy, Awareness, Education, and Fundraising.
Compassion for all who suffer with diabetes
Understanding the challenges they face…
Ready to fund medical and technological Research
Eager to Educate and Advocate for all Diabetics