Thirteen-year Lilly Branka never lets her diabetes slow her down – as a three sport athlete who plays field hockey, ice hockey and lacrosse, Lilly gets her fair share of exercise after school. But while other student-athletes have the ability to refuel without a second thought between games, Lilly must carefully calculate her carbohydrates and blood sugar levels while playing. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age three, Lilly has been a patient at Joslin Diabetes Center, for 10 years now under the care of Lori Laffel, M.D., MPH, Chief of the, Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Section at Joslin.
“I don’t really remember life without diabetes,” says Lilly. “Joslin has become like a home to me and my family and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”
Earlier this year, Lilly was honored at Joslin’s 16th Annual High Hopes Gala as the Spotlight on Hope honoree. Lilly has made an annual commitment to raise funds and awareness for Joslin during Diabetes Awareness Month each November, from selling blue rubber bracelets to hosting bake sales; she even raised funds for the International Diabetes Federation’s Life for a Child Programme to help children with diabetes in developing countries.
“I am so lucky to have the level of diabetes care that I do at Joslin, but I know that some people out there aren’t as lucky as me and if they don’t get the diabetes supplies that they need, they will die,” says Lilly. “I am doing all that I can to prevent that from happening.”
Lilly’s greatest hope is for Joslin to find a cure for the disease that affects over 29 million Americans.
“A cure before college would be ideal,” adds her mother, Emily Branka. “But we are so thankful to Joslin and are confident that they will continue to make great strides toward finding a cure.”
Become part of the diabetes cure today and give now to participate in Joslin’s year-end appeal: giving.joslin.org/YearEnd.