Meet the 2014 National Youth Advocate
Basma Abdellaoui, 17, of San Diego, already is a volunteer with a super track record
Diabetes is more than one person’s disease—it can affect a whole family. Basma Abdellaoui wants other kids with diabetes to know their families are not alone. She knows: She has type 1 diabetes, too.
Basma, 17, of San Diego, is this year’s National Youth Advocate for the American Diabetes Association. In her year as NYA, she’ll work to promote the ADA’s Safe at School® campaign, ADA Diabetes Camps, and other advocacy and volunteer opportunities. None of that is new to Basma: She’s been involved with the Association since she first went to camp at 5 years old. Since then, she’s become a camp volunteer and teen staff member, a speaker at Father of the Year Awards ceremonies, a spokesperson at Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes® and Tour de Cure® events, and more. She juggles all that with schoolwork and extracurricular activities, including tae kwon do, swimming, and volunteering for other causes.
It may seem like a lot for one teen to have on her plate, but Basma says getting the word out to other kids and adults that they aren’t alone is worth it. “I’ve definitely dreamed about it for a long time,” she says. “There are so many things to be excited about, but the [biggest] is being able to travel and meet other people who have diabetes or have loved ones with diabetes … and impact them. We can actually take it and turn it into something positive, be a voice for the diabetic community.”
If you want to follow Basma’s adventures as National Youth Advocate, read her blog at diabetes.org/nya.
Type 1 diabetes, at age 3
Insulin pens, frequent blood glucose testing, healthy eating habits, and exercise, including swimming, tennis, Zumba, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, and other classes at her local YMCA
Tae kwon do (she’s a second-degree black belt), a school club for cancer awareness, Interact Club (a high school Rotary Club branch), babysitting for families with diabetes
Volunteer in her local office, ADA camps teen staff, Step Out speaker and Red Strider®, Father of the Year Gala speaker, and camp keynote speaker
What She Looks Forward to as National Youth Advocate
Traveling and advocating for other people with diabetes. “Speeches are definitely something that I take great pride in because it’s the way I get to be a voice for people with diabetes. When I get to light them up and see their smile, it really makes me happy because I know I’m doing something to brighten up their day.”