Type One Club takes on a service project

Members of Type One Club Give Back to the Diabetic Community


Savannah Velschow

Sophomore Polina Engovatov works on her card for the diabetics at the UCSF and Stanford Hospital.

An estimated one in every 430-530 people under the age of 19 have type 1 diabetes. Type One Club has created a safe environment for students at Carlmont with this disease.

The club gives students a place to go to educate themselves on type 1 diabetes and provides a common area where students who have diabetes can gather. Sophomore Makya Whiting, the club president, and sophomore Madeleine Cunningham, the club vice presidentt, both have type 1 diabetes and understand what it’s like managing the autoimmune disease.

Savannah Velschow
Madeleine Cunningham and Makya Whiting explain to the Type One Club members about the cards they will be making in their club meeting.

“It’s hard to get teenagers to talk about this disease specifically because people have a lot of anger around it. It’s frustrating, and it can be hard, especially when you’re a teenager, so Maddie and I thought it would be cool to have a safe place where students can talk about it,”  Whiting said.

At their last meeting, the Type One Club made cards for people who were newly diagnosed with diabetes. The club has paired with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to create the cards. The Foundtaion is a nonprofit organization that funds type 1 diabetes research and provides a broad array of community and activist services to the type 1 diabetes population. Whiting and Cunningham will deliver the cards to  UCSF and Stanford hospitals this weekend.

“Finding out that you have type 1 can be scary for a lot of people, and we are just trying to give any amount of support that we can through the club,” Cunningham said.  

Even though Cunningham and Whiting both live with type 1 diabetes, not all members of the Type One Club actually have diabetes. Tori Balsam-Ashling, a sophomore, is one of these people, and she still enjoys the club. Balsam-Ashling joined the club to support Whiting but ended up learning along the way. 

“I learned what diabetes is and how much energy and maturity it takes to manage type 1 diabetes,” Balsam-Ashling said. 

Type 1 diabetes is not an easy thing to manage, and that is what Type One Club wants to bring to light. A lot of micromanaging is involved, and a diabetics’ blood sugar can change within five to ten minutes. Overall though, the two sophomores really want to create a happy and fun environment for high schoolers to be able to be themselves.

“The club is truly about forming a community where everyone feels safe, and they know that there are people around them who are there cheering them on,” Whiting said.

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