This past Wednesday’s DSMA Twitter Chat was all about travel and diabetes. Actually, it turned out that travel and diabetes was part of it, and travel for diabetes was another part of it.
Anyway, one of our questions was:
Are you aware that there are groups who offer scholarships to attend diabetes events?
I was shocked to find out that many were not aware of this fact. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with those people. Rather, it means we, as a community, need to do a better job of letting people know about said scholarships and we need to do a better job of supporting those organizations who do award scholarships.
Every time a semi-big diabetes event occurs, or someone writes about their child with diabetes going away to a camp or something, a lot of hand-wringing goes on about who is there, and why, or how, they got there in the first place. Well, we get there a number of ways (and I realize I’m using “we” with a very big umbrella here). Sometimes these things are geographically close to us. Or we actually, you know, save our money so we can afford to get there. Some events are invitation-only and travel is paid for those who attend. And yes, sometimes, we receive scholarships.
I can’t do anything about those first three things. But as far as the scholarships are concerned: I can let you know about them, and then it’s up to you to either apply for them or not. And if you have a desire to go, and you can’t quite fit it into your budget, why wouldn’t you apply?
This is my attempt to give you a rundown of the scholarship opportunities I know about right now. This is not a comprehensive list, but it’s a start, and if you know of additional resources, please leave a comment below or send me an e-mail and I’ll add them. Some of these are actual scholarships to college for kids with diabetes, and some are scholarships that will help you or your child attend a diabetes event that you might not otherwise be able to travel to.
First, let me tell you about the amazing work of Diabetes Scholars. Since 2004, the non-profit Diabetes Scholars Foundation has provided scholarships for over 3,000 families to attend the big diabetes meetup of the year, Children With Diabetes Friends for Life conference in Orlando. Many of these families would not be able to go without the assistance of Diabetes Scholars. Diabetes Scholars also provides college scholarships to high school seniors looking to further their education. Get all the details on scholarship opportunities and the application process at
Speaking of college, College Diabetes Network has a terrific list of college scholarships available throughout the USA. These are scholarships that are available from a number of sources, but this page contains a brief description of each scholarship opportunity and a link to its source:
Diabetes Hands Foundation and Diabetes Advocates: These two non-profit orgs (DA is a group of, well, diabetes advocates under the DHF umbrella) provide scholarships to a variety of D-conferences throughout the year, including the annual American Association of Diabetes Educators conference, American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions, and Friends for Life. In addition, they created one day scholarships to attend MasterLab, a one-day advocacy workshop at FFL last year, and my guess is they will do the same this year (though I have no inside knowledge). To look into scholarship opportunities, start at
Disclosure: I received a scholarship from Diabetes Advocates to attend MasterLab last year. More about that in a minute.
The American Diabetes Association, in addition to support received from corporate sponsors (thank you Eli Lilly), helps to provide “camperships” for kids to attend diabetes camps across America. The process is pretty simple, and it’s spelled out at
The always-inspiring Team Type 1 Foundation works to provide help, hope, and awesome examples of athletes with Type 1 diabetes making a positive influence on the world. They also provide college scholarships to Type 1 athletes competing at NCAA and NAIA institutions. Their scholarship page has all the information, including requirements:
That’s the list so far. I know there are many, many more scholarship opportunities out there, but I just haven’t found them yet. Again, if you know about something not mentioned here, leave me a comment or an e-mail, and I’ll add it to the list.
One other thing, and this is personal, so feel free to ignore the rest of this post: As I mentioned above, I received a scholarship to attend MasterLab last year. A couple of months later (or maybe I just noticed it a couple of months later), I read a few things about a person or persons who were unhappy, and felt like the same people are always getting to go to important diabetes events. Well, I felt horrible about that. This was the only thing I’ve ever been given (other than an invitation) to attend a diabetes event. But since then, I’ve wondered if, by accepting a scholarship to attend, I was denying someone else’s opportunity.
So this year, I’m not applying for any scholarships. If I can afford to go to something, I will. If I cannot, I won’t, and I won’t worry about it. This is my decision, and my decision alone, and I doubt it will have any real impact at all. After all, I’m not exactly giving up something I’ve already been granted. And I can’t say that I’ll always feel this way. Each year carries its own concerns and priorities, and I may go back and apply for scholarships in 2016. But for this year, if you want to apply for a scholarship, know that you have one less competitor.
That doesn’t mean I’ll be completely absent from everything this year. I get a lot out of going to diabetes events… I learn a lot, which is something I feel I need, and I can’t discount the interaction that goes on among people I can call friends now. But hopefully, those people are still my friends whether I’m there in person or not. And the fact is, I don’t really attend a lot in person anyway, and a lot has been done over the past couple of years to help get content online for people who aren’t able to attend something in person. In the end, I have an admitted desire to go to everything I can get to. But if I don’t make it this year, it’s not the end of the world.
You? You should go. Educate yourself. Meet people. Form bonds. Ramp up your advocacy. And if you need a little help to get there, always be on the lookout for scholarship opportunities.