Joslin Patient Lobbies her School to Host a Fundraiser Supporting Joslin Diabetes Center

Lilly with the bracelets she sold to raise money for kids with type 1 diabetes.

As part of National Diabetes Month Lilly B., a 11-year old Joslin patient, hosted a fundraiser at The Rivers School, where she is a sixth grade student, to sell blue bracelets to raise funds and awareness for diabetes. With matching gifts, Lilly helped to raise over $2,000 and 100 percent of the proceeds went to Joslin Diabetes Center.

Like many others, Lilly participated in fundraising efforts during National Diabetes Month, but securing approval for her fundraiser was no ordinary feat. In order to be granted the privilege of hosting a fundraiser at her school, Lilly developed an in-depth business plan and underwent an extensive application process, including delivering a presentation in front of the entire student body.

As the first sixth grader to receive approval to host a fundraiser, Lilly demonstrated her dedication towards helping to find a cure for diabetes as well as helping others who are unable to purchase the necessary diabetes supplies.  Her school community embraced her efforts and many students and faculty, including visitors, donated without hesitation.  Lilly’s cause became their cause.

This is the speech that Lilly presented at her school:

My name is Lilly Branka, I’m part of the class of 2020, and I have Type 1 diabetes.  When people hear I’m a diabetic I get some pretty interesting comments.  Just so you know, no, I’m not going to grow out of it, no, you can’t cure it with diet and exercise, and no I’m not contagious.  It’s ok if you see me in the ice cream line, and yes I was able to keep all of my Halloween candy even though my sisters Maddie and Ellie took all of my Reese’s Cups, Butterfingers, and Twix bars. – Thanks guys!

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 3 years old.  If you have Type 1 diabetes it means your body, specifically your pancreas, does not produce insulin.  Everybody needs insulin to live because it helps process the sugar you eat, or the sugar your body creates when carbohydrates are converted into sugar.  I need to check my blood sugar 10-12 times each day by pricking my finger and using a special meter.   When I need insulin I use a little device to calculate how much I need and deliver it into my body.  If I have too much insulin in my body, I need to get some sugar to help balance me out.    

There’s no cure for diabetes and scientists are working every day to find out why somebody like me doesn’t have a pancreas that works like yours. Even though I have Type 1 diabetes, I’m still a normal kid, I think- just don’t ask my family. I play soccer, lacrosse, and ice hockey. I still play way too many video games, my room is a mess, and I annoy my older sisters. If you ever have any questions about diabetes never hesitate to ask me.  I’ll tell you what I know. 

I’m just like you, and because we are part of the Rivers Community I want to help others that are not as fortunate as us.  I have great doctors and nurses who take care of me.  Boston is home to the best place to get treated for diabetes, Joslin Diabetes Center. Kids around the country, and even here in Boston do not have enough money to buy all of the supplies needed to deal with this disease.

November is Diabetes Awareness month and blue is the color that helps raise awareness for type 1 diabetes.  This month I will be selling these blue bracelets to raise money for Joslin.  100 percent of the proceeds will be sent to Joslin to help find a cure for this disease, and to also help others that are not as fortunate as me buy supplies, and get the care they need to live. 

More than 3 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes.  Each year in the US, more than 15 thousand children, and 15 thousand adults—about 80 people each day—are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. That’s too many people doing what I have to do each day to live.  With your help, we will find a cure and help others less fortunate. 


  1. Hi, Lilly. Do you remember me from when we both spoke at Joslin’s groundbreaking ceremony and then hammered the wall? It makes me so proud to read about you and your continued involvement with fundraising for Joslin. Congratulations to a super young woman!
    Brenda Altschul

  2. So impressive! Thanks for sharing and a fantastic presentation. I wear my bracelet proudly and love that you made it!

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