A Father-Daughter Team of A1C Champions Motivate Others with Diabetes
Ted and Taylor Duncan are a father-daughter team of A1C Champions who travel across the United States sharing their unique experiences with diabetes as both a person living with diabetes and a family member. From their involvement with the American Diabetes Association, to helping organize diabetes summer camps, the pair is heavily involved in the diabetes community! Today, I’m happy to share the encouraging message and journey of this father-daughter pair.
Taylor, a recent high school graduate, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 5. Ted said the diagnosis came when Taylor was signed up for a basketball summer camp and fell ill. The family took her to a doctor who told them she had a virus and recommended treating her like a “normal” sick kid.
However, the family soon noticed that Taylor’s symptoms weren’t “normal.” “She was drinking a lot of water and going to the bathroom a lot, and just wasn’t herself,” said Ted. “When she became more lethargic I took her to the hospital, where she was soon diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.”
Since Ted and Taylor wanted to start learning about diabetes, they turned to their local Spokane, Washington American Diabetes Association office for assistance and information. Not only did the family receive valuable information, they were also reassured that blood sugar management was feasible.
“After Taylor’s diagnosis, we were very overwhelmed and it almost felt like we were in medical school,” recalled Ted. “The week before, we had no concept of diabetes. Then, we had to learn everything about it for Taylor.”
Years after turning to the ADA for information, Ted took a job working for the same local office in Spokane. His new position gave him a unique perspective on caring for a child with diabetes and provided his family more opportunities to get involved in the diabetes community. “Our whole family gets involved in ADA activities,” said Ted. “It’s kind of the family business. We feel like it is our obligation to pass what we know along to other people.”
Ted helps organize diabetes summer camps, Step Out Walks, bowling days, Tour de Cures and many other events as a part of his responsibilities at the ADA, but his favorite is organizing youth-focused programs like camps. One of those programs is a family retreat in April, for which Taylor is a camp counselor.
“I have met some of my closest friends at diabetes camps because I found friends that know what I’m going through,” said Taylor. “I know that I can call or text any of my friends from camp to say I’m having a bad day with diabetes and they’ll talk to me for an hour about it if I need to.”
Ted and Taylor became A1C Champions after Ted attended a health fair and learned the program was looking for a parent and child pair to share their experiences with others. They have been involved with the program and attending sessions for more than three years now.
Taylor finds being an A1C Champion and working at the diabetes camp sincerely rewarding. “I like talking to so many different kids from so many different places,” said Taylor. “I can tell some kids struggle every day with their diabetes and have some feelings of anger towards it. I’m able to tell them from experience that it will be okay, and that it is not the end of the world.”
Ted’s advice to other parents of a child with diabetes: “Try to do the same things that you would normally do as a parent when it comes to diabetes-related situations. I know it is easier said than done, but if you hold everybody in the family accountable for doing the right thing, kids with diabetes really can do everything kids without diabetes can do.”
What an encouraging message! I want to thank Ted and Taylor for taking the time to share their stories with our readers, and also for graciously sharing their experiences with families across the country to comfort and inspire.
All the best,
Disclosure: Ted Duncan and Taylor Duncan are trained volunteers through the Sanofi US A1C Champions Diabetes Education Programs. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewees, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.
Note: A1C Champions is a registered trademark of Sanofi US.