Introducing Jesse was here – a letter to the type 1 community

It is with great pride that we announce a very special Beyond Type 1 program – Jesse Was Here. Supporting those navigating life after a Type 1 death, this unique program expands our efforts to a community often invisible and cements our commitment to addressing all aspects of this disease, even the most challenging.

Jesse Was Here was inspired by Michelle Page-Alswager’s experience after her son Jesse’s death. Grieving the loss of Jesse, and the potential loss of the diabetes community, she created an online community to support parents who had also lost their children to Type 1 diabetes. By connecting with others who shared her experience, she realized many of those seeking support and opportunities to honor their loved ones also struggle with unexpected funeral expenses, ongoing medical bills and sometimes even the funds for a headstone. Michelle has been mentoring several hundred parents on her own and we have others – spouses, siblings, grandparents, friends – who are in need of similar support and resources as well.

Working together, Michelle and our team at Beyond Type 1 have created a very special program to serve this unique and deserving community. This will include peer support via a website with practical information, coping tools, financial assistance and a place to create a tribute of their loved one. Our partners at Mighty Networks have worked with us pro bono to create a custom app where members can meet in private groups to discuss their unique experiences and find specific support and understanding and hopefully a bit of peace and healing.

Some, like Michelle, may come to Jesse Was Here already members of the Type 1 community. Others, may find themselves reeling from a loss caused by a disease they never even knew, due to DKA or missed diagnosis. In either case, they will find a home and a community amongst us, as we continue our commitment to serve the entire Type 1 global community.

This program has been especially moving and emotional for our team, and the weight of the responsibility to create something meaningful has been heavy and painful even at times. We hope that these efforts result in a beautiful, safe and welcoming place that provides a sense of what we all so value – knowing you are not alone.

Today is National Grief Awareness day and I hope you will take a moment to visit Jesse Was Here and support this program with a gift, share with anyone who may be in need and help us continue to build an inclusive Type 1 community.

With appreciation,

Sarah Lucas

CEO + Co-Founder, Beyond Type 1