Faces in the Community: The South End

A phone call from a doctor late at night was how Shirley Utudjian found out she had diabetes. Her blood sugar levels were so high that the doctor was sure of it. Her mother lived with diabetes, but Shirley was still shocked to hear the news.

Today, Shirley takes an active role in her life to manage her health and help delete out others. Shirley started a monthly informational meeting at the United South End Settlements in Boston. People living with diabetes and people who have loved ones living with diabetes are welcome to come, learn how to manage their illness and receive valuable tools and information from the American Diabetes Association. They also take the time to share best practices with each other. Even though Shirley knows a great deal about diabetes and how to manage it in her own life, she values these community meetings for the story sharing.

“It’s important for me to share my information with other diabetics that I know,” she said. “I can sometimes give them a little advice.”

When Shirley first found out she had diabetes she managed it by maintaining a healthy diet. However, as she got older she had to start taking medication.

“It’s a big part of my life because I have to take two oral medications and two different types of insulin,” she said.

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