My name is Laura and I'm 25 years old. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 4 and I don't really remember living any other way. I grew up going to diabetes camps and attending support groups for kids like me, but to make one thing abundantly clear - growing up with the disease never defined me. I was absolutely a child first and a person with diabetes second.
Following high school, I enrolled in a photojournalism program in Europe that was based largely on injustice and poverty. I was privileged to work at an orphanage in China, to fight against human trafficking and child prostitution in Thailand, and to work with drug addicts in Paris, among so many other amazing opportunities.
Whether I liked it or not, exposure to such extreme situations left me consumed by a moral obligation to take action. I decided that I wouldn’t settle for anything less than attempting to change the world.
Upon arriving home, I met a mother of a young boy who was recently diagnosed with diabetes. She shared with me that he often cries himself to sleep at night, feeling as though he’s going through this alone.
It didn’t take long to realize that this was the exact type of issue that I needed to document, using my photography as a platform, to help spread awareness and educate people like me.
Thus far, over 100 people with diabetes have been featured. My goal is to be able to travel and include everyone who reaches out. I want to stay true to the idea of me personally meeting each and every person and being able to photograph them myself.
I think “You’re Just My Type” is extremely helpful and popular among the newly diagnosed especially as it shows how many others, who are like them, have gone through a similar experience. I want people to know that their darkest feelings and frustrations have already been felt by others. I want people to know that yes, this disease sucks, but it sucks for all of us. Most importantly, I want people to know they are not alone.
I invite you to follow this project on Instagram (@yourejustmytype1) and join the community of over 5,000 people. One of the latest was about the Genteel Lancing Device (www.mygenteel.com), which I’ve started using on my palm to give my fingers a break from the constant trauma of fingersticks. An issue I’ve personally dealt with my entire life, like many others. It uses depth control and vacuum to get a drop of blood from anywhere on the body without the risk of poking too deeply or squeezing the test site location. I believe this tool will greatly impact my audience’s quality of life, so I’ve featured it. Over the next month, I’ll be using Genteel on my palm to show how it can provide an accurate alternative to pricking fingers while allowing my fingers time to heal up.
I hope to continue to provide these kind of recommendations that are useful to the wider diabetes community, and connect with more people like me.