DiabetesSisters Recognizes Inaugural Brandy Barnes Scholarship Winners

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DiabetesSisters awarded scholarships to 2 volunteer leaders to attend diabetes education conferences and write blog posts about their experiences.

The conference was another tool in my tool bucket for managing this ever-changing life challenge called diabetes. - Diane Bajalia, Brandy Barnes Scholarship recipient

DiabetesSisters recognized Diane Bajalia and Andrea Herndon with the inaugural Brandy Barnes Scholarship to attend diabetes education conferences, and the two volunteer leaders have published blog posts describing their experiences at those conferences.

The Scholarship is intended to support continuing patient education and expanded knowledge for DiabetesSisters volunteer leaders. Scholarships are allocated to alleviate some of the cost of registration, transportation, and/or lodging to diabetes-related conferences in the United States.

Recipients are volunteer leaders of PODS (Part of DiabetesSisters) Meetups in their respective communities, and represented DiabetesSisters as a PODS Leader at the conferences they attended. PODS Meetups are a signature program of DiabetesSisters: small group meetings that offer an open, respectful environment for women with diabetes and prediabetes to focus on their own health; opportunities to share experience, information, and support with other women who live with diabetes and prediabetes; and include women with all types of diabetes (e.g. type 1, type 2, type 1.5, gestational, LADA, MODY, prediabetes) regardless of whether they were diagnosed yesterday or 40+ years ago.

Bajalia lives and leads a PODS Meetup in Jacksonville FL, and has lived with diabetes for 26 years. She used the scholarship to attend a Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD) conference in Sacramento CA. In her blog post Bajalia noted that for her, diabetes involves monitoring minute-by-minute activities, watching hour-by-hour blood sugar trends, and tracking food and exercise…and that she needs help to do this. The March TCOYD Sacramento Conference was another tool in her tool bucket for managing this ever-changing challenge in her life called diabetes.

Herndon, from Rochester NY, has lived with diabetes for 10 years. She also attended a TCOYD conference, this one in Washington DC. According to Herndon’s post, attending the conference helped her realize the importance of being her own advocate and gave her hope for the future.

Brandy Barnes, scholarship namesake and founder of DiabetesSisters, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 15, and several years later realized that there were virtually no specific resources for women with diabetes, particularly when they were going through pregnancy. Barnes founded DiabetesSisters in 2008 and served as the organization’s CEO until 2015.

“Brandy’s vision of DiabetesSisters is ingrained in each woman that comes into contact with us,” said Anna Norton, current CEO. “It was important to our Board of Directors to honor her vision and enable women to continue learning on their journey with diabetes. We are proud of our volunteer leaders and want to provide them tools to manage their lives more effectively.”

Blog posts from the 2016 Brandy Barnes Scholarship awardees can be found at the following links:



About DiabetesSisters:
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, DiabetesSisters is the only organization worldwide focusing exclusively on women with diabetes. Our mission is to improve the health and quality of life of women living with and at risk of developing diabetes, and to advocate on their behalf. DiabetesSisters has a 10,000-member peer network that unites women with diabetes for the purpose of support, education, and advocacy. Signature programs include monthly small group meetings (PODS Meetups); DiabetesSisters conferences throughout the U.S.; the Life Class Webinar Series, and online blogs, forums, and expert resources. For more information, visit diabetessisters.org.

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