Type 1 diabetes
is something that is near and dear to Lauri Delson’s heart, as two
of her three daughters have the disease. Both girls were diagnosed as
children, leaving Lauri to navigate their treatment and management plans
through their adolescent years. Watching her daughters grow-up with type
1 diabetes was difficult, but what was the most challenging for Lauri
was watching them cope with the responsibilities and challenges that come
with adulthood without a solid network of like peers and an absence of
real life education. Sure, Lauri's daughters had received clinical
education and had a wonderful support network of family and friends, but
what seemed to be missing was a connection to others with type 1 diabetes.
When her first daughter was diagnosed her doctor postulated that in 10
years there would be a cure, however upon her second daughter’s
diagnosis Lauri realized that knowledge (of a cure) wouldn't help
them deal with the challenges of living with the disease today, and everyday.
It was at that time that she decided education and support will be their
“cure”, and she turned to Hoag.
This realization drove Lauri to make a generous donation to Hoag Hospital
Foundation to support the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center and create the
Herbert Program for Young Adults
(18-30 something) with Type 1 Diabetes. "I tried to look at life through
their eyes (her daughters), and really found that what they needed the
most was support, motivation and real world advice from others with type
1 diabetes," said Lauri. "The Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes
Center seemed like the perfect place to start this group." With that
Lauri started the Herbert Programto address the financial, psychological,
social and physical changes that challenge not only the young adult, but
also their spouses, friends, siblings, entire family and support system.
The program she spearheaded features social events, peer interactions,
counseling, and education, and incorporates nutrition therapy, and pump
and meter training that the Allen Diabetes Center already offers.
Lauri's goals for this group are to offer empowerment and hope, and
to re-build the confidence that many young adults with type 1 diabetes
find diminished as they struggle with health, relationships, and independence.
What she saw missing from most programs were solutions to address these
psychosocial aspects of living with type 1 diabetes. "There are great
clinical and research programs out there, but no one was focusing on the
real life challenges these young adults face. On top of managing their
diabetes, this population is dealing with the financial stress of their
disease, time-management of doctor appointments, relationships, feeling
isolated and career struggles - often times without an outlet, "
Studies have shown those with diabetes have an increases risk of depression.
The stress associated with having type 1 diabetes, along with all the
other challenges young adults face, can play a major part in the development
of depression. It’s been reported that girls with type 1 diabetes
are twice as likely to be diagnosed with an eating disorder compared to
their non-diabetic peers. Lauri created the Herbert Program with these
factors in mind and wanted to give this group a place to feel normal with
peers, a group with which they can connect and share real life experiences.
It was equally important to her that the program offers psychological
support to combat the high rate of depression and eating disorders.
Participants of the program are gaining insight, friendships and confidence
to handle life's challenges. Buck Evans, 26, of Newport Beach, CA
was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2012. The Herbert program
has brought him friendship and support through this challenging time in
his life. "A year ago I was preparing for law school and then suddenly
I learned that I have this genetic disease," he said. "The Herbert
Program has helped me adapt and given me the passion for a new career
to assist type 1 diabetics like myself with financial planning and a myriad
of different financial issues that can affect us."
Heather Shields, 22, of Irvine, CA was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes
in 2003 at age 11 and says "the Herbert Program has really normalized
diabetes for me and empowered me to start taking my diabetes treatment
more seriously. As a direct result of the opportunities this program has
afforded me, I've taken steps to better control my diabetes. Additionally
I have made some truly wonderful friends, and seeing so many of us come
together to share stories and laugh has made living with diabetes less
of a burden and turned it into a positive part of my life." It is
because of Lauri's passion and support that the Mary & Dick Allen
Diabetes Center is reaching young adults with type 1 diabetes and making
a positive impact in their lives.
For more information on the Herbert Program and how to connect with other
young adults with type 1 diabetes please join us on