I cannot believe my internship with JDRF is over! As you may have read in my post last week, I have learned so many new things and gained so much new experience in the last seven weeks. I have met some wonderful people, been a part of an amazing transition time at JDRF, and learned the value of having friends and co-workers with T1D. Thank you, Nicole Johnson, Students with Diabetes, and JDRF for giving me the fantastic opportunity to work with JDRF National this summer. It has been a summer I definitely won’t forget!
As my summer with JDRF comes to an end, let me share with you a few highlights and some big news from my last week here. (COUGH COUGH – There really is some BIG news at the end of this post… so you’re gonna have to read it all to find out
I had the pleasure of meeting Derek Rapp, the new President and CEO of JDRF, this week. On Tuesday afternoon Anne, the VP of Strategic Communications, came back from a meeting to tell me that Derek might be coming up to my desk because he expressed interest in meeting me, as his son Turner is also a Students with Diabetes intern. Oh my gosh the CEO of JDRF is actually seeking me out to meet me. Anne said he would try to stop by my desk that afternoon to say hi and introduce himself. So, naturally, I remained glued to my desk until 5:15 pm, not wanting to miss my chance to meet Derek! To my despair, Tuesday trickled away and Derek hadn’t come to my desk. He’s a busy man. When I got back to work Wednesday morning, though, Jessica said he had stopped by later that evening but I had already left! Oh no! I emailed him Wednesday morning with my apologies and asked him if there was a moment we could meet that day. I was going to be leaving at 3 that day. Well, 3 o’clock rolled around and still no Derek. *sigh* Later that evening, Kady texted me this photo of Derek, distraught over the fact that we had missed each once again! Lol!
FINALLY on Thursday morning, we were able to meet each other. He was leaving for DC on Thursday, but had a few moments in the morning and asked me to come down to his office. It was such a delight to talk with him for ten minutes about living with T1D, the technological advances and options that are on the market, and why it’s so important for people with T1D to have the options to personalize how they choose to live and treat themselves. Derek is such a nice man and I was so honored to meet him! He asked for my school email address and told me to keep in touch with him. And, of course, I will!
Hannah, Jenni, and I had fun on Thursday creating a video together about our intern experiences with JDRF this summer. During our lunch break we went into the conference room, brought Hannah’s laptop, and began (with very little preparation) talking about our internships, what we have been doing, and how much we have valued the experience. Many, many bloopers and laugh attacks later, I think we captured some good clips of our experiences. I’m sure the whole office could hear us laughing in the conference room as we kept messing up our words and breaking out into laughter. I will post the video later once it is edited and finished. I am definitely going to miss having two friends (and co-workers) with T1D. Not once have I had to explain myself to them, because they already understand. Strength comes in numbers
Nicole Johnson left me a nice little surprise note at my desk last week. After meeting with her at Doubletree, she stopped by the office the next day to say hi. Unfortunately I was out for lunch, but she left me a note that I will likely be keeping for a very long time
Unrelated to my internship experience, but totally related to my summer in NYC experience, I went to see Ingrid Michaelson on Wednesday night at Summer Stage Central Park with my dear friend Alana! With my Dad arriving in NYC the next day, going to see Ingrid Michaelson with Alana was the perfect way to spend my last night in NYC on my own. Ingrid put on a FANTASTIC show and kept us laughing the whole time. Her voice is absolutely beautiful and she played such a wide variety of her music, from her older CDs to her newest one, Lights Out. In fact, we were part of the largest crowd she has ever headlined for! She got emotional a few times throughout the night, as this was a very special night for her. When she sang The Way I Am, the crowd sang along with her and she had to pause at the end to explain why she was so emotional. She was remembering the first time she heard a crowd sing her music back to her, which was at a small show of about 50 people. And now, years later, here she is singing that same song but to an enormous crowd in Central Park that is all singing in unison with her. She even got me feeling a little emotional! All in all, it was such a great night. Good music, good friend, good times all around.
Alright, back to internship experience. This week I asked a few of my co-workers if they would write me a letter of recommendation after working so closely with them all summer. I didn’t expect a poor recommendation, but at the same time I didn’t expect such wonderful words written about me, either! I cannot express how thankful I am for this internship and all of the work I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. The employees in the Comms department have done such a great job of keeping me involved and giving me opportunities to help with SO many different projects. This internship wouldn’t have been the same if it hadn’t have been for all of these generous people at JDRF. While they wrote wonderful recommendations for me, I can’t say I did great work without them. They gave me so many awesome opportunities and I am so thankful!
I decided to start another blog! While this blog has focused on my internship experience with JDRF this summer, I decided to start a different blog that will focus on life with T1D, education, news, and the like. You can look for my first post (coming on Sunday!) here. I am so excited to be a part of the DOC. I never would have even though of starting a blog if it weren’t for it being required for this internship. But thankfully, I have found that I really enjoy blogging – especially when it’s about something I’m so passionate about!
The Comms department threw me a little “Goodbye Amy” party today, complete with cheesecake – my FAVORITE. Paige and the rest of the department gave me cards thanking me for all of my hard work this summer and wishing me well in my future. It has been such a pleasure working with these people this summer, and I am truly going to miss them so much! I am so thankful for this summer, and while I am ready to go home and back to school, I can’t imagine this summer without JDRF. The experiences I have gained and the people I have met this summer have had a huge effect on me personally and professionally, and I cannot wait to see what my future holds.
Alright everybody, this one is the big exciting news….. I, Amy Ford, will soon be a professional writer. And, I kid you not, it’s all thanks to Twitter! (Sort of). This summer, I have been writing this blog on a weekly basis, linking it to my Twitter account at the same time. Last week I started following a number of diabetes Twitter accounts, including Insulin Nation, a fairly well-known diabetes website that “delivers comprehensive information about the science and technology of diabetes therapy.” Insulin Nation also has a “Living” section that includes columns from various authors about the many different aspects of living with T1D. Well… after I followed Insulin Nation, it followed me right back! And the next day I had a direct message on my Twitter asking if I would be interested in writing a column! I emailed the editor and received all the details, and it turns out he saw my blog linked to my Twitter account and told me my “writing has personality.” He wants me to write one column for the website, and it can be about any personal experience related to diabetes. I don’t even know where to begin!!! Again, thanks to this internship, keeping a blog, and simply using social media to share it, I was able to be noticed by the editor of a diabetes website and given the opportunity to be published! SO SO SO EXCITING. I CAN’T EVEN DESCRIBE TO YOU MY HAPPINESS RIGHT NOW. I’m gonna go enjoy my time on Cloud Nine… be back later…
So, as you can see, my summer has been unforgettable. From new friends to new skills, I have gained so much. Again, thank you Nicole Johnson, Students with Diabetes, and JDRF for providing such a unique opportunity for college students with T1D. This internship has provided me with so much invaluable insight and lessons that I will carry with me for a very long time.
And with that – I flee to the CLE tomorrow. Peace out, Big Apple, I’m coming HOME!