For those of you who may be unaware, Valentine’s Day isn’t the only holiday happening this week. An occasion inspired by Leslie Knope, my favorite fictional female politician, Galentine’s Day is for the ladies. Typically celebrated on February 13th, this is a tradition dedicated to recognizing and honoring the women in our lives that we love and admire. So in light of this special day, and regardless of the fact that I’m a few days behind schedule, I thought I’d take the opportunity to reveal some of my diabetes girl crushes, because let’s face it, there are SO many incredible ladies living with T1D and they deserve to be held up and recognized for how wonderfully strong and inspirational they are.
Erin Akers (Diabulimia Helpline)
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Erin for a little over five years now. Founder and CEO of The Diabulimia Helpline, Erin’s steadfast dedication to providing support and resources for those struggling with diabetes and eating disorders, like diabulimia, is a prime example of why she is one of my diabetes girl crushes. She has a fiery passion for life and such a strong yet gentle spirit. Her journey serves as an inspiration for myself and others and I am so proud to call her one of my good friends.
Mindy Bartleson (There’s More to the Story)
Another D-lady that I’m happy to say I’ve actually met in real life, is the incredible Mindy Bartleson. Mindy is the Communication & Partnership Coordinator with The College Diabetes Network and writes an amazing blog called There’s More to the Story. One thing I really love about Mindy is her ability to share her experiences with diabetes and other health issues so honestly. She is a strong advocate for mental health and has recently been guest blogging for the DiabetesSisters about what it’s like living with PCOS as a PWD. Her involvement in the D-community, both online and locally (we both are Boston girls!), is so impressive. I just love her energy and her passion for the things she involves herself in.
Sarah Vedomske (Coffee & Insulin)
What can I say about Sarah that could possibly convey how incredible I think she is. I’ve never had the chance to meet her in real life, but we’ve known each other through the internet for a little while now. Though there are so many blogs that I love reading, there’s just something about Coffee and Insulin that strikes a certain note deep inside my soul. A world traveler and ever the gifted writer, Sarah never ceases to amaze me with her ability to string together words beautifully with seemingly little to no effort. Her writing is raw, real, and inspired… a true talent. When I read her thoughts or see her photos, I feel like she’s already my friend and that I’ve known her for years.
Brittany Gilleland (The Diabetic Journey)
Brittany embodies so much that I hope to become. A mother of three, she manages a household while simultaneously controlling her diabetes and working on her blog, The Diabetic Journey. From the beginning, I always felt really akin to Brittany and I’m so happy I was able to connect with her. I love seeing how dedicated she is to spreading awareness and being a voice for those who may not have a platform to be heard. She works tirelessly to help those living with diabetes and still finds time to be a dedicated mother to some of the cutest kids I’ve ever seen. Knowing that she is making it all work gives me hope that one day, I can do the same. I’d love to be a mother and Brittany is one of the people who makes me feel like it’s actually possible.
Lauren Bongiorno (Keep Healthy Inc.)
I recently realized that fitness enthusiast and Diabetes Health Coach, Lauren Bongiorno, is a graduate of the program I am currently enrolled in. I can’t tell you what an exciting discovery this was for me (pretty sure I called my mom). Knowing that this girl who I had been admiring from afar completed the same holistic health and wellness training I am in the process of going through reassured me that the path I am on is the right one. She is a co-creator of the Keep Healthy Inc. Low Glycemic Bars – which I LOVE (especially the Sea Salt Brownie one). Beyond her professional accomplishments, one thing that I really appreciate about Lauren is her body positive messages. She recently shared a post that truly resonated with me because she sought to highlight the importance of building strength and really nourishing yourself as opposed to limiting calories and excessively exercising. Also, though I don’t know her, when I see her photos I just feel like she’s got to be one of the happiest, best people to be around. She looks like she’s always laughing or smiling and her personality seems so warm and inviting.
Marina Tsaplina (The Betes Organization)
I’ve talked about how wonderful I think Marina is before, but I’ll say it again. This girl is AMAZING! Founder of The Betes Organization, Marina is so creative and interesting. She’s one of those people you could stay up all night with, talking endlessly and waiting for the sun to rise. Wise beyond her years, Marina personifies strength, grace, and imaginative intelligence. I am so happy to see all the success and positive feedback associated with her project.
Paloma Kemak (Glitter Glucose)
I love following Paloma on Instagram. So fashionable and fun, Paloma is a wonderful advocate for those living with T1D. I was so happy to see her have a fairy tale love story come true and I have to say she was one of the most beautiful brides I have ever seen! I love that Paloma cares so much about the diabetes community and that she is constantly giving back. I hope she makes more vlogs going forward because I really love her YouTube channel as well!
Gretchen Otte (Type 1 Type Happy)
The reason I have Senita Athletic wear in my drawers and Further Collagen in my cabinet is a direct result of my girl crush on Gretchen of Type 1 Type Happy. Between her incredible diagnosis story and her ability to continuously convey such positivity, it’s no wonder she is one of my favorite D-girls around. I admire that Gretchen has a dedication to running and physical fitness and I think it’s great that she’s also studying to become a health coach. We have so much in common – including both having Australian Shepherds! I’m a sucker for an Aussie anyway, but her dog Hobie is SO CUTE… OMG. I feel like this is a girl I could hang out with and we’d just hit if off immediately. Who knows… maybe someday we will! Until then, I’ll continue to follow her journey on her blog. Gotta keep my eye out for all the awesome products she recommends!
Libby Russell (The Sugars)
Anyone that knows of The Sugars could easily understand why Libby makes the list of my diabetes girl crushes. I love this girl and she doesn’t even know who I am but that’s totally okay. She’s one of the funniest d-bloggers I’ve come across and I always look forward to seeing a post on IG or Facebook. I may or may not have several shirts from her shop as well! My favorite is the one I have with a dinosaur wearing an insulin pump.
Kerri Sparling (Six Until Me)
I saved Kerri for last because she holds a special place in my heart as the first diabetes blogger I ever knew of. I remember buying her book a few years ago and reading it three times in a row because I loved it so much. I felt so connected to this woman I didn’t actually know. I really appreciate being able to discover Kerri and her writing because she is the one who made me think that maybe I’d like to try blogging someday myself, too. Seeing her journey as a mother and knowing that she, like Brittany, is able to manage her family, diabetes, and dreams all at the same time, makes me remember that anything I want is never out of my reach.
There are many other women living with diabetes that inspire and amaze me. I wish I could take a moment to recognize them all. I am so thankful to exist in a time and place where I have the privilege of being aware of so many like-minded individuals. We are all on an adventure we never signed up for but have chosen to the make the best of. I love watching those around me thrive and succeed and I’m happy to celebrate these strong, resilient females who are making a difference in the world. Much love to all my poetic and noble diabetic land mermaids out there. xox