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Amy Ermel


Kitchener, ON

We have turned something completely awful into an opportunity to change the world and make a difference. We are leaning in together.

My daughter Emma was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of four.

I realized in that moment that our lives were forever changed—and to lean back and wallow in the sadness of the diagnosis and worry about the stresses and fears for the future would be accepting a life that was simply not good enough. I, like every Mom, wanted my daughter to see that absolutely nothing in the world could stop her—not even diabetes.

I now dedicate my life to advocating for children and adults with type 1 diabetes. I want to educate people about this extremely misunderstood disease and lean in to do my part to help raise funds for a cure. I want to live my life as an example for my daughter. I want her to see that it's okay to dream big, to have hopes and to know that anyone can make a difference.

Three months after Emma was diagnosed, she came to me with the idea of holding a fundraiser for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). She wanted to sell cups of hot chocolate and donate all of her earnings. Then, at the age of seven, she came up with the idea to have a doll or a stuffed animal "with diabetes" available for purchase. We started a Facebook page to gain interest and support; we currently have over 6000 fans. I now make tiny toy insulin pumps and blood sugar meters for children to put on their favorite toy or doll to "make" them diabetic.

Emma, now nine years old, has decided she wanted to start an online magazine called D-Girl Power dedicated towards girls living with this disease. D-Girl Power will give girls a place to share their struggles, victories and stories about growing up with type 1 diabetes. It will also be a place of encouragement and community.

My life changed completely the day Emma was diagnosed: I see the world through her eyes now. We are a team. We have turned something completely awful into an opportunity to change the world and make a difference. We are leaning in together. As a Mom of a little girl, I think there is nothing more important in the world than teaching her that its not only just okay to dream big—I encourage it. And with hard work and determination, Emma can accomplish anything she desires.

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