Role Model Megan Connor: "My Best Advice"
Think of any type of diabetes volunteer work and Megan Connor, 17, has probably done it.
At Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Megan has served as chairperson of the Teen Advisory Board, which is made up of 16 teenage patients at the hospital who have various medical conditions. "We meet monthly and try to come up with ideas for things we can do to make the hospital better for teens and children," says Megan.
Megan is also a mentor for younger kids with diabetes through the Board's teen outreach program, in which teens are paired with children who have the same condition (parents are paired, too). "I feel great when I reach out to these kids who are having problems with their diabetes," says Megan, "because when I was their age, I didn't have anyone to talk to and I bottled up a lot of my emotions."
One of Megan's friends on the Teen Advisory Board helped her get involved as a counselor at a local diabetes camp. "A lot of kids left there taking their own shots, poking their own fingers, and knowing more about carbohydrates," she says.
As the Kansas City spokesperson for JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes, Megan participated in newspaper, TV, and radio interviews and also helped recruit 85 walkers, who raised a total of $7,200.
If you want to try volunteering, Megan suggests asking your school guidance counselor about opportunities. You can also check with your local JDRF chapter and your healthcare professionals. "Volunteering is a great opportunity to meet other people with diabetes and help make a difference," she says.
Megan shared her story in the Spring 2001 issue of C.F.K. magazine.