The Southwest Ohio Chapter of JDRF selected Riley Dexter from Liberty Twp. to be a member of the JDRF Youth Ambassador program for the 2018-19 school year. CONTRIBUTED

Liberty Twp. girl to be juvenile diabetes ambassador

Riley Dexter, 11, will be a member of the JDRF Youth Ambassador program for the 2018-19 school year.

This program accepts applicants among children who have type 1 diabetes and who set a great example for others living with the disease, according to the Southwest Ohio Chapter of JDRF.

Riley was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. Youth Ambassadors go above and beyond through their support of JDRF and dedicated commitment to fundraising for research to find a cure, according to the organization.

“It can be challenging at times living with this condition,” Riley, who is a sixth-grader at Lakota Local Schools, said when asked about living with diabetes. “It takes a lot of work to stay on track managing my blood sugar... Being diagnosed at a young age with (type 1 diabetes) has made me more aware of my health. I can tell if my blood sugar is low or high on how my body is feeling.”

But Riley also focuses on the positive of her condition.

“Being a T1D can be very fun at times too. I am offered so many great opportunities and I get to meet new friends,” she said.

The Youth Ambassador Program was created to empower children with type 1 diabetes by giving them the opportunity to provide diabetes education to the public.

Riley is one of several an estimated 30,800 residents in the Greater Cincinnati area who live with type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease where the body destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is often misunderstood, which is why the awareness-building aspect of the Youth Ambassador role is so important, according to JDRF.

During the next year, Riley will provide health education throughout the community to raise support and awareness of type 1 diabetes. She will speak to businesses, schools, and hospitals, as well as participate in JDRF sanctioned outreach events.

For more information about the JDRF Southwest Ohio Youth Ambassador Program, visit www.swojdrf.org.