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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Quinn Nystrom

They say that you become who your friends are. Or maybe you do what your friends do. Something like that.

I hope that saying is true, because I have amazing friends.

One such friend, who I've been blessed to know well for the last 10 years is Quinn. I could write a whole book on Quinn, on her talents, on her accomplishments, and on what a good friend she is. But for brevity's sake, I'll be brief.

Quinn is one of the most ambitious and driven people I know. She is a Type 1 diabetic, diagnosed in 7th grade, only a few years after her younger brother was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. With no family history of the disease, it was a medical mystery as to how two siblings in the same family could both be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Quinn made it her personal mission in life to find a cure for diabetes, for her younger brother and for herself, as well as for the millions of people who share the burden of a diabetes diagnosis.

Since graduating college and working for several years in corporate America, Quinn recently took a HUGE leap of faith. She left her job and set out to pursue her true dream for her life – to be a professional speaker, speaking about diabetes. She also created a non-profit organization Dateline Diabetes that is raising money for diabetes research.

This lady is going places.

I have been saying it since high school, she is making waves and is going places. Little by little, she is changing the world.

Her latest project is writing and publishing a book; a pocket guide to living with diabetes. Her book has a tentative release date of this summer, and will be a young-adult targeted book on what to expect after a diabetes diagnosis. Quinn's goal is to answer some of the questions she had when she found out, as a 7th grade girl, that she was an incurable illness. As she'll tell you, her main concern after finding out her diagnosis was whether she could go to the 7th grade dance that weekend. Junior high is tough enough without throwing in a disease, and one that can't be cured, at that. This book is her way of helping those who will be diagnosed, realize that their life isn't ending. That they can and will lead a normal life, just with a couple of different actions thrown in.

I am so unbelievably proud of her, and I will buy one of the first copies, signed, if I have anything to say about it!

A few weeks ago, I spent the day with Quinn and we photographed her for her author bio photo. While it wasn't the ideal time of year to be taking outdoor photos, we rolled with it, and managed to produce some amazing photos for her book. I'm honored to have my photos a part of her project.

Here is my friend Quinn. I suspect we will be hearing a lot about her in the years to come.
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Also, Quinn has been selected as one of the top 10 finalists in the national Sally Hansen's Best of You contest. Right now, the voting is underway. If you would like, head over to this link, and give Quinn your vote. [You do have to enter some of your information, but if you check 'No' to receiving info, you shouldn't be bugged with stuff you don't want.] 

While I don't know any of the other participants, I can say quite confidently that Quinn is one of the most talented, driven, and kind-hearted people that I have ever met. I think she is absolutely deserving of this title and would use the notoriety to continue to raise awareness for her cause, for her life's mission. To find a cure for diabetes.

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