Purple Profile: New student group The Sweet Life looks to provide resources for students with diabetes


Brian Lee/Daily Senior Staffer

Communication senior Justin White discusses plans for presentations with members of The Sweet Life in preparation for the group’s upcoming info session. The group aims to raise awareness about diabetes among students and to fundraise for research.

Amy Whyte, Assistant Campus Editor

When Communication senior Justin White was diagnosed with Type I diabetes last October, he did not know how to handle the news.

“I was scared, and I didn’t know what to do,” he said. “I wasn’t aware of the resources available to me.”

Now, a full year later, White hopes to help others who might be dealing with the same thing, through The Sweet Life, a campus group he and three other Northwestern students have formed to raise awareness about diabetes.

The idea for the group came about four months after White’s diagnosis, when he decided to reach out to the College Diabetes Network about potentially forming an NU chapter. Through mutual friends he was introduced to Weinberg sophomore Katie Senter and SESP sophomore Molly Crane, both of whom had been diagnosed with Type I diabetes at a young age. The three of them, along with Weinberg junior Nancy Gu, began work forming the new student group.

“It was really funny because around that same time I’d also been thinking about forming a group,” Senter said.

White said the organization aims to provide support for students and community members with diabetes, as well as raise funds and awareness.

“The main goal is education, helping people understand how to treat diabetes, what resources are available to diabetics,” he said. “And support, being there for other people with diabetes and advocating for them.”

Already the group has proved a useful resource for its founding members, who said they have found comfort in being able to talk to other people who are going through the same things as they are.

“It’s nice to have someone to talk to about things that only other diabetics would understand,” White said.

However, he emphasized the group is in no way exclusive to diabetics and is also for anyone who is interested in health or community service.

Crane, who will be heading the community outreach efforts, said although everything is still in the planning stages, the group hopes to engage both the local and global communities through organizing mentorship programs and raising money for diabetes research.

“There’s a lack of support for diabetes,” she said. “Part of our goal is to mentor and give.”

Currently the group is preparing for World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14. The event will be among the first hosted by The Sweet Life on campus. Gu said the organization hopes to hold several events as well as partner with other campus groups throughout the year.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to work with other clubs with similar goals,” she said.

The Sweet Life is in the process of recruiting new members to help with organizing its events. It will be hold an information session on Thursday to introduce students to the group.

“We just need people to get involved and help us organize these events and just raise awareness any way we can,” Senter said.

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