Women’s Ice Hockey Partnering with SLAMT1D for Diabetes Awareness Game

Women’s Ice Hockey Partnering with SLAMT1D for Diabetes Awareness Game

COLCHESTER, Vt. – The Saint Michael’s College women’s ice hockey team is welcoming SLAMT1D to Cairns Arena for a Beat Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) Awareness Game on Saturday at 1 p.m., when the Purple Knights oppose the University of New England.

Vermont-based SLAMT1D has held wiffle ball, basketball and corn hole tournaments and various other awareness events in an effort to accelerate and improve T1D education, connect the T1D community, raise funds for T1D programs and organizations, help children with T1D to attend camps and participate in sports activities and programs, and promote and support activities and sports programs for adults with T1D. Visit slamt1d.org for more information. The Purple Knights will wear special T-shirts during pregame to promote SLAMT1D’s message.

Women’s basketball senior Cassandra Falone (Chatham, N.J./Chatham), who is diabetic and serves as president of the College’s chapter of the College Diabetes Network, helped make the connection between her program and SLAMT1D last year, and her squad is slated to host its second annual awareness contest on Feb. 15. Upon arriving at Saint Michael’s, women’s ice hockey junior goalie Alyssa Cimino (Wellesley, Mass./Wellesley), who is also diabetic, joined the College Diabetes Network at the school, and Falone ultimately connected her with SLAMT1D.

“For the past few years, I have been actively involved in creating awareness with diabetics,” said Cimino. “I have embodied a powerful message that anything is possible with type 1 diabetes, and it should not, in any way, hold you back from any dream or goal. For the past three years I have been a global ambassador for Team Type 1, which is an organization of diabetic college athletes, and our goal is to be an inspiration and show others what is possible with diabetes. I have really started to live with this message, as my sophomore year I created a blog surrounded around my life with diabetes. I have been really eager to share what diabetes means to me, in hopes to inspire other young diabetics to pursue their dreams.” Visit here and teamtype1.org/gasp to learn more.

Jeff Kolok, SLAMT1D’s CEO, said the purpose of Saturday’s event is to create awareness and education about type 1 diabetes while also supporting Cimino. “Often those with T1D don’t want the world to know they have this disease, despite the data that shows self-advocacy improves the psychological health of a patient and can very well save their lives in urgent-care circumstances, which do occur for every T1Der,” he said. “So, when someone like Alyssa is willing to advocate for herself and others in this way, it can be game-changing and empowering for her and those who hear her message. We’re all about using the games we love to play to spread awareness about type 1 diabetes, and to give those with it some fuel and ammo to be in the fight for their lives.”

According to SLAMT1D’s website, T1D is a lethal, life-altering autoimmune disease that afflicts nearly two million people in the U.S. There currently is no cure and the number of annual diagnoses is on the rise. It is perhaps the only disease in which patients are required to monitor their condition constantly and make their own dosing decisions with a drug that, if improperly administered, can kill them. It is a dangerous and relentless 24/7 grind, and research shows that the vast number of people with T1D are failing to properly and safely manage their disease. With T1D, the body attacks its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. T1D is managed today by a rigorous regimen of monitoring glucose levels – either by pricking one’s skin multiple times per day or wearing a subcutaneous continuous glucose monitor – and then administering insulin via injection or an insulin pump. While advancements in technology are working to automate this process, people with T1D and their caregivers must continue to play the role of a pancreas amid constant concerns of access and affordability of essential medication and equipment.

More About Cimino’s T1D Journey…
“Recently I have wanted to make an impact any way I could,” said Cimino. “I have partnered with many diabetic organizations, and feel in doing so I am able to better share my story. I want to be an inspiration for other diabetics, specifically to those who want to compete in sports. I remember when I was diagnosed [at age 9], the doctors telling me that I should quit and find a new hobby. But to me, sports were not just a hobby; being involved on a team made me who I am today, and I am so grateful for it.

“Having the ability to be involved in all these platforms has been incredible. But I think that the most rewarding – and definitely going to be the most memorable – experience for me within a diabetes community is the opportunity I have had working with a young diabetic. Two summers ago, a 5-year-old girl in my town was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her family needed a babysitter for the summer, and I was connected to them through a mutual friend. Meeting this girl, and working with this family, has been absolutely amazing. I have been a full-on babysitter working 40-plus hours a week with them over the past two summers, and then visiting any chance I get over breaks. Being able to be a physical help with diabetes, but also helping with the mental and emotional parts of living with diabetes, has been an unforgettable experience. Our relationship goes beyond a normal babysitting connection. This child is a true inspiration; she has pushed through any obstacle that came her way, and walks away stronger. Although in this experience I am supposed to be the role model for her, I think I have learned just as much from her as she has learned from me. Being able to share my story on a large scale is obviously an incredible feeling, but being able to connect with another individual, and merge our stories together, has been unforgettable.”