On January 31, 2017 Ragan Strong was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes. It was nine days before she competed in her first UCA National High School Cheerleading Championship. She was 11.
After her diagnosis, Ragan made it her mission to not let Type One limit her in any way. In addition to being a member of the Arlington High School cheer team, Ragan has dedicated her time as to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) as a Youth Ambassador.
As an ambassador, Ragan assists in fundraising efforts and volunteers at events like the Southern Lights Show and the annual golf tournament. At these events, Ragan is able to help educate the guests on Type One, the warning signs and how to live a fulfilled life with Type One. One of her favorite parts of being a JDRF Youth Ambassador? Mentoring children who are newly diagnosed with Type One. “It gives me an opportunity to let them know they are not alone and to educate them on living with Type One,” said Ragan. As an ambassador, Ragan is also able to meet other kids like her who are living with Type One. They get to swap stories and support each other in their journeys, all while helping find a cure.
“I’ve had to mature probably faster than most kids my age,” said Ragan. “I have definitely learned what is actually important in life and to not sweat the small stuff.” Since her diagnosis four years ago, Ragan has not stopped living a normal life or stop doing what she loves. As a cheerleader, she’s able to show other kids diagnosed with Type One that it is possible to continue pursuing your passions. “If I met another cheerleader who was just diagnosed, I would tell them that you can still do absolutely anything you want to. Don’t ever let Type One hold you back,” said Ragan.