Meet Your TeamingUp Champions

TeamingUp Champions know the ropes

TeamingUp Champions have been living with diabetes. They know a thing or four about taking on the condition, dealing with ups and downs, and making life with diabetes work. So, let them inspire you.

Angela Y., Connecticut

For generations, diabetes had been a member of Angela’s family. She spent part of her childhood helping care for her grandmother, who also had diabetes, before she passed away. Despite seeing diabetes firsthand, Angela was in denial when she was diagnosed in 1993.

For a long time, Angela struggled to manage her condition. It wasn't until her own mother passed away in 2003 that she started taking care of herself. "I realized that if something happened to me, there would be no one who could take care of my disabled daughter," she says.

By educating
others, I also
educate myself

Today, Angela is a proud TeamingUp Champion. She exercises about four times a week, eats smaller portions, tests her blood sugar regularly, and takes her insulin at appropriate times. An Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, she works at a diabetes center, which has also helped her with her own condition. "By educating others, I also educate myself," she says. She hopes that by being a TeamingUp Champion and sharing her story, she can help others make good choices.

"My daughter needs me, and I need her,” says Angela. "I'm determined to do what I can to live a healthier life."

William W., Illinois

William didn’t know anyone with diabetes when he was diagnosed in December of 2008. He’s the first to admit that he was scared, lost, and overwhelmed.

Immediately, William began treatment with an injectable, long-lasting insulin. A short adjustment period followed as he learned the new routine, then it just became an everyday habit. His biggest challenge was learning the balance that would help him stay below his target A1c. To help himself get there, William exercises regularly, eats healthy foods, drinks lots of water, and keeps stress to a minimum.

William believes that having type 2 diabetes has encouraged him to live a healthier life, and to stay focused on the positives. He said, "I embrace diabetes—I do not feel I am missing out on anything." Having a partner who helps with meal planning and enjoys walking and hiking helps him stay motivated.

Never give up, and realize
that no one can take your
dignity. Looking out for
yourself is up to you. You
are in control!

William was inspired to become a TeamingUp Champion because he wants to help others understand that looking out for yourself can be a wonderful experience. He believes that having diabetes does not mean that you need to settle, and that little by little, great success can be achieved. William advises, "Never give up, and realize that no one can take your dignity. Looking out for yourself is up to you. You are in control!"

Julie U., Texas

In 2005, Julie went to see her doctor because "I was tired of being tired." Although her mother and grandmother have diabetes, Julie was surprised when she too was diagnosed.

One of her challenges was to change her eating habits—there are so many high-carb dishes in Latino cuisine, which was a significant part of her diet. Julie found that she didn’t have to stop eating the foods she loves, but just needed to control her portions.

You CAN do this!
Learn all you can —
and take one step at
a time

Julie's A1c was very high when she was diagnosed. She takes pride in having brought it down. Today, Julie maintains her target A1c and controls her blood sugar by eating healthy meals, exercising, and taking an oral medication and insulin.

Julie is a health educator specializing in diabetes and a TeamingUp Champion. She uses her experiences living well with diabetes to help others. Julie is passionate about educating people with diabetes—especially other Latinos. She wants people with diabetes to know that even though it's a chronic condition, diabetes can be managed. Her message: "You CAN do this! Learn all you can — and take one step at a time."

Many are surprised when Julie says, "I'm healthier now than I was before I had diabetes." She adds, "Life is my passion. I choose to take care of myself."

Trudy S., Oregon

When Trudy was in her 40s, she started losing weight and feeling very tired, and was unusually thirsty. As a nurse, Trudy knew the signs, so she wasn’t surprised to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Her father had diabetes and she had watched him struggle with blood sugar control. Trudy says, "I learned that fear wasn't going to be an effective motivator for very long."

Don't give up! With the
right tools, you can do
it—one step at a time!

At first, Trudy kept her A1c in target range by starving herself. Eventually, Trudy was referred to an endocrinologist who believed there was a good chance she had type 1 diabetes, not type 2.

Today, Trudy manages her diabetes by taking her insulin as prescribed, exercising, and eating healthy. Monitoring and keeping a log of the results are also important parts of Trudy's routine.

Trudy is a retired Certified Diabetes Educator* and became a TeamingUp Champion to continue helping people with diabetes. She says, "Don't give up! With the right tools, you can do it—one step at a time!"

"Hope is the most important thing I have to share—hope that they can successfully manage their diabetes and live their life without the fear and helplessness associated with uncontrolled blood sugar."

*A Certified Diabetes Educator and "CDE" are certification marks owned and registered by the National Certification Board of Diabetes Educators (NCBDE). The NCBDE is not affiliated in any way with Sanofi US. The NCBDE does not sponsor or endorse any diabetes-related products or services.

Lakshmi S., Texas

In 1992, Lakshmi was in college and just 19 years old when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Her anxiety and worry did more than motivate her to learn about diabetes; it shaped her future. Today, Lakshmi is a healthcare provider with her own successful internal medicine practice. She has not only learned to manage her own diabetes, she helps others do the same.

Lakshmi’s path has not been without bumps: There were complications that made it difficult for her to control her blood sugar. She credits both her family and healthcare providers with helping her through the challenging time. Lakshmi joined TeamingUp Champions and volunteers with organizations dedicated to helping people manage their diabetes. "I enjoy educating and empowering people with diabetes and motivating them to take control of their diabetes," said Lakshmi. "Being a TeamingUp Champion allows me to do this on a grander scale and to share the story of my journey."

I enjoy educating and
empowering people with
diabetes and motivating
them to take control of
their diabetes

Lakshmi has learned to balance her work, volunteering, family—and her diabetes. "I lead a very productive life," said Lakshmi, "and diabetes is an integral part of that. I want others to know that it's important to control blood sugar—and they can do it."

Robert G., Maryland

When Robert was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011, he was upset and disappointed in himself. His older siblings have diabetes and Robert was determined to avoid the disease. Robert was already eating healthy and exercising, so he was surprised when he started having symptoms.

Robert has learned to read labels and to choose healthy options and smaller portions. It was difficult to make time for the gym, but Robert made it a priority and it's now part of his daily schedule.

It's up to ME to
control my blood
sugar. I did
it—others can too

Robert worked closely with his doctor to develop his diabetes self-management plan, which also includes blood sugar monitoring. He checks it several times every day—sometimes more if he's not sure how his body will react to a food combination. He soon saw the results of his dedication—his A1c is now consistently on target. Robert credits his family and his love of scuba diving as his big motivators.

Robert became a TeamingUp Champion to encourage people with diabetes to have better blood sugar control. He enjoys sharing his experience and seeing that his story can motivate others. Robert says, "It's up to ME to control my blood sugar. I did it—others can too."

Amy H., Ohio

Amy was only four years into her nursing career when she was diagnosed with diabetes. In an instant, she went from nurse to patient. The person who was used to helping others stick to a treatment plan now had to cope with her own.

Despite being a hospital RN, Amy spent years living in denial. But she gradually came to accept her diabetes and even found tools to help. Today, Amy schedules medication and exercise to fit alongside her "regular life." She stays motivated one day at a time, one meal at a time, and she says, "With a positive attitude, I can do it!" Amy uses apps such as GoMeals® to track her blood sugar, activity, and more. She’s even joined several diabetes social media groups.

Every day is an
opportunity to
begin anew

Amy is a TeamingUp Champion and diabetes-support volunteer. She is eager to share and learn from others' experiences. "I'm patient, good at explaining things in a way people can understand, and a good motivator," she said. Amy's next goal is to go to graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. Her personal diabetes motto is "every day is an opportunity to begin anew."

Greg P., Virginia

Greg is a husband and father who's best known for his gregarious nature and positive outlook.

When first diagnosed in 2000, Greg felt that type 2 diabetes was "no big deal." He soon realized that he was in the midst of a serious life change. As someone who had always successfully juggled a busy life, Greg was worried that he was becoming a burden to his wife and family. Looking back, he credits diabetes with teaching him to find his resolve and understand what is truly important in life.

I want others to
remember they only get
one life, so they need to
do all they can to live life
to the fullest

Today, Greg works hard to keep motivated—and to keep his A1c on target. He remembers to take good care of himself first so that he can then take care of others. Greg says his personal philosophy is to "live life to its fullest."

Greg put his outgoing personality to work when he became a TeamingUp Champion. He's committed to helping others with diabetes realize that they have choices and that they have the ability to overcome the loneliness and isolation they may feel. He believes that the best way to live is to always try to understand the bigger picture.

"I want others to remember they only get one life, so they need to do all they can to live life to the fullest."