By Hunter Hine, Staff Writer
(April 6, 2023) The Eastern Shore T1 Diabetic Support Foundation is awarding scholarships to students battling the disease for the third year.
EST1DSF is a non-medical family support group focused on children with Type 1 diabetes. It covers affected families across Wicomico, Worcester, Somerset and Sussex counties, said Foundation Founder Katie Rimel.
Students have until April 15 to submit an application, which includes a high school transcript, a resume or list of activities, a letter of recommendation, a letter of acceptance to a college, university or trade school, and a 500 word essay about what Type 1 diabetes has taught the student about perseverance.
Application materials can be submitted on the foundation’s website at est1d.org.
As of March 23, no students have submitted applications, but EST1DSF sent reminder letters to school nurses and guidance counselors, Rimel said.
“We just want to get the word out that this is available and it’s really not a hard scholarship to get if the people know about it,” Rimel said. “Because of HIPAA laws, we can’t call the school and say, ‘So how many diabetics do you have at your school? Get them to apply.’ That’s why we have to get the word out about it.”
The foundation pays the scholarship directly to schools to cover text-books or tuition, and it’s only awarded once per student.
In 2021, three students were each awarded a $1,000 scholarship, but last year Mardela High School student Daniel Ashcraft, the sole winner, was presented $2,500 to put toward trade school.
“These kids, they fight hard every day just to be themselves and we just want them to know that we’re there for them and we want to reward them for their success,” Rimel said.
Flora Glasgow, CRNP, who is part of the Pediatric Specialty Clinic in Endocrinology at TidalHealth in Salisbury, said she serves just over 100 Type 1 diabetics age 22 and younger who live across the middle and lower Eastern Shore.
Glasgow estimates there is about 100 other children facing Type 1 diabetes in the same region who seek treatment from other hospitals and practices.
The CDC National Diabetes Statistics Report estimated that in 2019 about 244,000 adolescents under the age of 20 had diagnosed type one diabetes.
Most of the EST1DSF’s fundraising comes through events like its annual Spaghetti Dinner and ticket drop auction in October, as well as the 31 Days of 31 Raffle.
Rimel said the foundation has raised over $100,000 since it was created.
“They deserve these awards because they’ve had a battle,” Rimel said. “For a kid to deal with diabetes, and to keep up in school and sports and everything, can sometimes be tough.”
Since its inception, the foundation has helped families pay for summer camps for children with Type 1 diabetes, Rimel said. A popular destination for locals is Camp Possibilities in Harford County, the closest diabetes camp to the region, Rimel said.
The foundation also holds family events at no charge or reduced rates.
On May 21, it is hosting a bowling get-together at Southbound Alleys in Salisbury, and on Aug. 6 families with the foundation will pay the non-profit rate of $25 per person at Jolly Roger Amusements, rather than the normal $45 ticket fee, Rimel said.
“Being that the Eastern Shore is more rural, I think kids are by themselves,” Rimel said. “They don’t know other diabetics, so by having Eastern Shore T1 Diabetic Support Foundation, we’re bringing families together to get to know each other, and so they know they’re not alone in this battle.”
Rimel founded EST1DSF after her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2009.
Rimel said that the foundation focuses on just Type 1 diabetes because it is more common in children compared to Type 2, which is much more common in adults.
“Not many people see it like they see other diseases, so we want awareness of the disease,” Rimel said. “Kids can live a great life with this disease as long as they take care of themselves.”