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The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Organization provides community, support for students with Type 1 diabetes

Julia Thomas

Julie Angleton’s insulin pen is covered in colorful dog stickers. Her sensor has nature-themed ones. One of her backpack pockets is filled with diabetic supplies, including needles, snacks and a pouch with “all my diabetes shit” written in rainbow letters.

Angleton, a Wichita State student, is part of T1DShockers, a group for WSU students with Type 1 diabetes and caregivers of those with Type 1 diabetes. She transitioned from vice president to president in October and said the group functions like a support system, including a Discord server where members chat together.

“It’s nice to contact them, be like, ‘Hey, my blood sugars have been really, really crazy. How about you guys?,’” Angleton said. “(It’s) also really helpful to have when you’re just like, fed up with everything, and you can rant, and they’ll be like, ‘Yeah, same.’”

Caitlin Bruner, an academic adviser at TRIO DSS and a former T1DShockers member, said that the club members are able to support each other because they understand each other’s experiences.

 “(People) don’t get it unless you live with it,” Bruner said.

Bruner said that T1DShockers has provided a sense of community where no discussion is “taboo.” She said when she was first diagnosed, a lot of information was thrown at her with little guidance, and she encourages those newly diagnosed to find a group of people with diabetes they can vent to.

“Everybody’s been so welcoming and supportive,” Bruner said, “that I think if someone were to ever say like, ‘Hey, I’m low (blood sugar), I’m out of glucose tablets or whatever. Is anybody near this hall?’ I don’t doubt for a second anybody in the group would be like, ‘Yeah, I got some. Hold on.’”

According to Angleton, T1DShockers started a couple of years ago when the former Office of Disability Services asked Angleton and the former president Carlie Hurtt if they wanted to create a chapter at Wichita State. Angleton didn’t know others with Type 1 diabetes around her age and jumped on the chance.

Lately, Angleton’s focus has been educating members about the American with Disabilities Act and requesting accommodations at Wichita State.

 “What I try to make sure people know is that they have a right to it (accommodations) … and they should use them, even if they don’t need them, just as a precaution,” Angleton said.

Angleton said she hopes T1DShockers can engage in more awareness and advocacy projects, including working with the Wichita State nursing department to better educate about Type 1 diabetes and partnering with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

In September 2022, T1DShockers participated in a walk run by JDRF to raise money for a cure to Type 1 diabetes on Wichita State campus. While Angleton said construction has made a walk difficult to do this year, she said she enjoyed speaking with others last year.

Angleton said she has rationed insulin before due to the high costs. According to Time, the patent for insulin, a medication that people rely on for diabetes, was sold to the University of Toronto for $1 each to make it accessible. But in the U.S., insulin’s price has dramatically increased, and according to NPR, insulin costs increased 600% over the last 20 years in the United States.

Angleton said that delaying insulin can cause brain and nerve damage. A lack of insulin can also cause diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition.

“That’s why I think the prices are so important to us. We (T1DShockers) also help with that,” Angleton said. “We find ways to make sure that people have what they need, if we can.”

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About the Contributors
Courtney Brown
Courtney Brown, News Editor
Courtney Brown is one of the news editors for The Sunflower. She previously worked as a reporter and assistant news editor. Brown uses she/her pronouns.
Julia Thomas, Former illustrator/designer
Julia Thomas was a designer and illustrator for The Sunflower.

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    Genesis MerriettDec 4, 2023 at 8:27 pm

    Thank you so much for covering T1D Shockers! It’s so nice to see us get representation. You’re amazing, Courtney!!