JAMESTOWN — Hannah Litke of Jamestown was selected to be a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s youth ambassador program for the 2017-18 school year.
Litke, 13, was was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 7 and is a staunch supporter of JDRF its fundraising efforts for research to find a cure.
“Living with diabetes is tough,” the Greeneview Middle School eighth grader said. “When I am really struggling, I try to think about people in the world who struggle to get enough to eat or clean water to drink. It helps me realize that diabetes is hard, but it is not the worst thing.”
The Youth Ambassador Program was created to empower children with T1D by giving them the opportunity to provide diabetes education to the public. Litke is the only student with T1D at Greeneview Middle School and one of an estimated 30,800 residents of southwest Ohio who live with T1D — an autoimmune disease where the body destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. T1D is often misunderstood, which is why the awareness-building aspect of the youth ambassador role is so important, according to a press release from JDRF.
“Our youth ambassadors play a vital role for our organization by educating others about T1D and by demonstrating that it doesn’t have to hold you back,” said JDRF Southwest Ohio Executive Director Melissa Newman, “These young people serve as positive role models for the T1D community.”
During the next year, Litke will provide health education throughout the community to raise support and awareness of type 1 diabetes. She will speak to businesses, schools, and hospitals, as well as participate in JDRF-sanctioned outreach events.
Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.
Xenia Daily Gazette news report compiled by Scott Halasz.