It is a toasty fall afternoon in Sanford, Florida; the year is 2000. A 10-year-old girl, newly diagnosed with an incurable autoimmune disorder, is dancing in her driveway. You’d think learning that she now has type 1 Diabetes (formerly known as juvenile diabetes) and that her future will incorporate blood glucose monitors and daily injections of insulin would have been a good reason to stop dancing. But not for little Elizabeth; she just kept dancing because that’s what she does. She started dancing at Millennium Middle School and today she continues 21 years later as the executive director of the annual Dancing for Diabetes Show and founder of Touched by Type 1.
After her diagnosis, she was driven by a determination to lead with inspiration and not to let diabetes negatively impact her life. As the idea to form a nonprofit organization was taking shape in her 10-year-old brain, she knew that dancing was at the heart of it. As she began devouring every piece of information she could find about type 1 diabetes, it was soon clear to her that bringing attention to the stories of over 1.5 million Americans who are living with type 1 diabetes was really something to dance about! She tells the story of filling out the original paperwork to launch the 501c3 nonprofit organization we know of today as Touched by Type 1 – whose mission is to elevate awareness of type 1 Diabetes, raise funds to find a cure and inspire those with diabetes to thrive.
Most people don’t know that there are several kinds of diabetes. Generally, when people hear about diabetes, they are thinking about type 2, which is predominately found in older populations due to various factors such as diet, exercise, and family history. Conversely, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that usually shows up early in life. A big difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is that type 2 is mostly managed with medication and lifestyle choices. There is no cure for type 1 and administering insulin is a required part of daily life for those impacted. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month and November 14th is International Diabetes Awareness Day.
Fast Forward 21 years – Elizabeth has grown up, as children will do, and today the daily management of her disease has become a backdrop for her normal life. She doesn’t miss a beat and is still the energy behind the organization and the annual show. She is a Chief Operating Officer by day and a philanthropist (and new mom) by night.
The show must and does go on! The annual Dancing for Diabetes showcase has sold out Bob Carr for years and is now planning to sell out the Disney Theater at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on November 13th. The 21st Annual Dancing for Diabetes show features award-winning dancers raising funds to support those touched by type 1 diabetes. Help support those impacted by type 1 diabetes, learn more and purchase tickets at www.dancingfordiabetes.org.