March 3, 8:45 p.m.
I somehow find New York Mets outfielder Cory Vaughn on Twitter. He lives with type 1 diabetes?!
I add him. He adds me. I tell him what I’m trying to do with this site.
In less than 24 hours, I’m talking to him on the phone, sharing stories about athletics, diabetes and even girls.
This is the power of social media.
Here I am, a newly diagnosed type 1 blogger in Toronto who loves working out. And there he is, a baseball player heading for the major leagues, taking the time to chat with me from spring training camp in Florida.
We may not have spoken or even heard of each other a few weeks ago, but now, Cory is part of my d-family. And I’m part of his.
Cory wasn’t always a social media fan. He got his first Twitter account in 2011 but stayed off of it.
“I have people yelling stuff at me during the whole game, why do I have to have that continue? I deleted the whole thing.”
In October 2013 he resurfaced with a new account.
“I realized I should just have fun with it. Not everyone is going to like you.”
Present attitude? Let the talkers talk.
Whether it’s about his game or something else, this MLB prospect has a great way of dealing with negativity. Example:
“On my news feed someone was posting absurd stuff… cussing every two seconds. I just unfollowed them.”
Cory says he got a direct message that made him chuckle.
Cory never responded.
“I thought, ‘What a good one. Who says that?'”
For me I’ve found the ignorance and stereotypes very difficult to deal with. Perhaps it’s because this is all so new. Maybe it’s because I still have that I-must-have-done-something-horrible-to-deserve-this mentality still lurking in the shadows of my unconscious.
I tell Cory this straight out. And then I proceed to ask him questions I want answered so desperately by those thriving with diabetes.
Me: How do you handle assumptions or stereotypes? What would you say?
“Actually that’s not how it works. There’s no truth and in fact you might want to read up on it.”
No rudeness. Cory says he’d just inform them. If they were receptive, he would tell them more.
I’ve actually thought of what he told me a few times since we’ve chatted. And you know what? It made a difference!
Click on any of the images below to enlarge and read.
We agree online support is amazing, and I’m sure his jump back into social media is helping many. A successful sportsman who is damn proud of his diabetes? YES!
As we continue to chat, I tell him that on top of the diabetes online community (DOC), face-to-face support has been the most influential for me. My d-friend circle has been an instrumental part in my acceptance of the disease.
This is when I introduce Cory to Connected In Motion, a group that provides tons of programming for adults living with type 1 diabetes in Canada (the only one of it’s kind here!).
Not only is Cory a type 1 diabetic athlete, he’s also proud and wants people to know he’s chasing dreams and living the life he wants.
“I brag about having diabetes. Take pride in it. Embrace it. It makes us stronger. A lot of people have no idea what we deal with. Stay strong.”
Thank you Cory for taking the time to speak to me 🙂
I’ll really be caught in a bind the next time the Jays play the Mets. We have pitcher Brandon Morrow, another t1d athlete! So who should I root for? Cory gives me a warning.
Watch Cory in action: