When first-year student Adriana Richard actively began to share her struggle with Type 1 Diabetes with the hope of helping others, she never imagined she would have the help of singer, songwriter and fellow person with diabetes, Nick Jonas.

Richard is a dual education major with a minor in psychology, pursuing a number of extracurricular activities at Ship to develop her leadership skills. One of these activities involves running a support group for persons with diabetes every week, called T1D3 To The Third.

Diabetes has significantly impacted Richard’s life after receiving her diagnosis at the age of five.  “I do not remember life without Type 1,” she said.

T1D To The Third holds meetings for multiple age groups, 4-8, 9-12, and 13-20, to help manage the overwhelming and isolating emotions of this life-altering condition. Richard believes starting the support group at Ship has helped foster leadership skills and competencies in advertising and running a “brand.”

Richard started T1D To The Third with Natalie Brogan and Sophie Rinzler – friends she met at the JDRF 2019 Children’s Congress, where she testified about her life with Type 1 Diabetes. After participating in several interviews, her story was broadcasted all over the country.

Her experiences led her to write two books, currently selling on Amazon, and share her story on multiple social media platforms.

She collaborated with Penn State University students to organize the March 20 “T1D in College and Beyond,” a virtual event for incoming college students to answer their questions about what college is like with diabetes, with special guest speaker, Nick Jonas.

“As part of the College Diabetes Network, we are worked to provide a real and honest panel for kids and their parents to get their questions answered,” said Richard.

The panel included a special message from Jonas, an active voice in the Type 1 Diabetes community. Diagnosed at age 13, Jonas discussed how he manages diabetes on the road touring and gave a special shout out to Richard, her co-collaborators and Ship.

“We talked about everything and anything: alcohol and diabetes, living independently with diabetes, burnout, insurance, roommates, accommodations, resources and anything else you could imagine,” said Richard.

Around 1oo individuals tuned in and engaged during the event.

“We ended up going over the time because people had so many questions,” she added.

Richard is thankful for the opportunity to help others with Type 1 Diabetes, and says the experience wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it. And she’ll take what she learned into the elementary school classroom.

“There were times when this was really stressful and I needed to learn how to continue working when things get tough. Being a teacher requires a lot of patience and leadership skills to allow the kids to trust you,” she explained.