PROVIDING HOPE & SUPPORT SINCE 1999
Diabetes Hope Foundation grew out of a commitment to provide hope and support to youth living with type 1 diabetes and their families, founded by Barbara Pasternak, who shares her story below.
My own story is similar to that of many families whose lives have been touched by diabetes. Before diabetes moved into my family’s home and our lives, we were an everyday, run of the mill hockey family. In 1994 we were knocked off course by an unrelenting, silent foe – type 1 diabetes. My husband, Joe, and I were blindsided when our two youngest sons were both diagnosed with diabetes within three years of each other. We knew nothing about the disease other than that our lives were about to change dramatically. Our heads were spinning as we realized we had a new, uninvited houseguest who would never leave.
RECOGNIZING & REWARDING YOUTH WITH T1D
As my kids grew up, diabetes was with us through each stage of life, and I saw first hand how important the stage of transitioning from adolescence to adulthood was for them. Through research and conversation with clinics across Canada, I recognized how important successful transition is, because it helps ensure continued management to prevent complications from happening. 25 years ago, there wasn’t much support available for young adults as they left the holistic care of the pediatric health care system, but more importantly, there was no recognition available for these kids for their hard work and the vigilance that they had to have to be healthy with diabetes.
And so the Diabetes Hope Foundation was launched as a call to arms. I started the hard work of reaching out to donors through my networks and across the diabetes community to bring people together to celebrate these amazing students through scholarships. The Scholarship Program was designed to not only provide much needed financial support to students as they start post-secondary school, but it was also the perfect opportunity to motivate, applaud and reward the hard work it takes for our youth to stay healthy.
SUPPORTING A SUCCESSFUL & HEALTHY TRANSITION
CONTINUING TO MAKE AN IMPACT IN THE FUTURE
As we look to the future, we are excited about the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead, and we are confident that, with the continued support of the broader diabetes community, we can make an even greater impact on the lives of those affected by type 1 diabetes.
The one thing that I always wanted my kids to believe was that just because they had diabetes, it shouldn’t hold them back from anything. I’m very proud of my kids for achieving so much in their personal and professional lives, and I am excited to give that same hope to youth living with diabetes across Canada.
Our History & Timeline
ACHIEVEMENTS & HIGHLIGHTS
We are excited to be starting a three-year partnership with the Aubrey & Marla Dan Foundation to expand our HOPE Connects Peer Mentorship program across Ontario, including the addition of an online support forum to continue addressing the mental wellness needs of youth through their transition.
Continuing our focus on mental wellness, we collaborated with six campus diabetes clubs to host ‘Don’t Sugar Coat It’ webinars, educating post-secondary communities about T1D and the importance of emotional and social support.
Our focus on mental wellness and providing support not only for transitioning teens but for their parents and families too, led to the development and delivery of our new “Let’s Talk About It”, Parents Speaking to Parents webinars. Our online Transition Guide launched, increasing access to college and university information for students and their families across Canada.
2020 - 2021
When Covid-19 hit, DHF responded by quickly and effectively transitioning to a digital world. “Wellness Webinars” were developed and presented and drew over 30,000 viewers throughout the year.
2018 - 2019
Launched Peer Support and HOPE Connects programs to support transitioning teens.
2016 - 2017
Developed Peer Mental Health Framework and pilot for Peer Support Program for Type 1 teens.
Adapted guide into Parent & Teen workshops and webinars.
Developed ‘Guide for Successful Transition to College and University’.
Partnered with Six Nations Health Services to develop the Aboriginal Diabetes Youth Retreat Program.
Piloted the Alumni Mentorship Program in 2011 to support youth-in-transition.
Launched the At-Risk Youth Diabetes Retreat partnership with Tim Horton Children’s Foundation.
Sponsored 179 children to attend the Diabetes Summer Sports Camp in partnership with York University.
Supported over 200 families through the Medical Assistance and Diabetes Start-Up Kit Program.
DHF becomes a registered charity. Diabetes Hope Scholarship Program launched in Ontario.