What is Young and T1?
Welcome to Young and T1 (YT1), a BC based and volunteer run organization for young adults living with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Our goal is to provide a social network for people living with T1D during and after their transition into adulthood.
YT1 members can connect with each other online and through a variety of local events held throughout the year. We are actively involved in group-volunteering activities for local diabetes organizations, supporting T1D research initiatives, mentoring younger individuals living with T1D, and creating resources that benefit the lives of all people living with T1D. Our YT1 team participates in physical activity events throughout the province, and we are also actively involved in campaigning for improvements to BC’s health care system. We host parties, symposiums, and other social events & get-togethers throughout the Lower Mainland and we listen to what our members want so that we can plan diverse activities that cater to as many interests as possible.
Welcome to a community who gets the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of life with T1D! We can’t wait to meet you 🙂
For a list of current directors that oversee our various initiatives please click HERE.
How did Young and T1 Start?
Ramya Chittaranjan, Co-Founder
Ramya’s perspective: Diagnosed in adulthood:
Super tired and barely able to keep my eyes open in lecture hall, I was constantly chastising myself in my second year of university. “Don’t be a wimp, everyone else is struggling with midterms and finals, get it together and toughen up Ramya,” I thought to myself as I chugged a liter of juice.
But I kept getting weaker. Eventually my parents dragged me to the hospital, practically carrying me to the ER. That’s when I found out, at 19 years old, that type 1 diabetes (T1D) can occur at any age, not just in childhood. Initially relieved at the diagnosis that explained my recent exhaustion, as time went on, questions arose that couldn’t be answered by medical professionals who hadn’t been in my position. My parents and friends assumed that as a responsible adult, I had things under control and was fine.
But I wasn’t fine. I was desperate for a community that understood what I was going through, transitioning into adulthood and yet dealing with a full time job on the side: type 1 diabetes. All the resources out there were geared towards children and parents of children with T1D. I went through a period of extreme depression, feeling like no one “got me.” After graduating university I started getting better and began meeting others with type 1 diabetes my age. That’s when I met Ben Mammon…
Ben Mammon, Co-Founder
Ben’s perspective: Diagnosed in childhood:
I was diagnosed when I was 12 years old. Why me? Nobody else I knew at that time had to deal with diabetes. I felt isolated and alone as I adapted to the huge lifestyle changes that were now required for me to stay alive. I was very fortunate at the time to have lots of help from the Diabetes Unit at Children’s Hospital. Unlike most people I came across, the doctors, nurses, and dieticians at Children’s understood what I was going through and acted as a supportive network that truly cared.
Then I turned 18 and “graduated” into the adult healthcare system. I had no idea what to expect at all and when I got to my new endo’s office 6 months later, he offered very little support. I was young, had a decent A1c, and no complications. He essentially told me to keep on doing what I was doing..
I started to feel the effects of losing a support system. I lost control of my diabetes and began to reach out and meet others in an attempt to get better. It was during this time that I met Ramya. Despite our different experiences with T1D and stages in life, it became clear to us that there was a huge disconnect between young adults living with T1D and the healthcare system. We then met Kristen Eng, who was also beginning to transition into adult health care. Collectively, we decided that a grassroots change needed to take place in the health care system and that we were the ones to initiate that change and address the problem. Thus, Young and T1 was born.