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Meet the Team: Jamie Cruz, RN CDCES

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A Personal Journey that Inspires Hope and Empowers Others

In a world where personal experiences often shape our destinies, Jamie Cruz's path to becoming an AdventHealth diabetes nurse educator is a testament to the transformative power of love, resilience, and a deep understanding of the challenges faced by those living with this chronic condition.

As someone diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Jamie's life took an unexpected turn when she fell in love with a fellow Type 1 diabetic. But her journey began long before meeting the love of her life and is marked by determination and a desire to make a difference.

Jamie was diagnosed at the age of 15, a period when most teenagers are focused on discovering their passions and navigating the challenges of high school. However, Jamie's diagnosis propelled her into a world of self-care, insulin injections, and blood sugar monitoring. In the first year after diagnosis, also known as the honeymoon phase, her pancreas was still producing insulin, and symptoms weren't so bad. Then a year later, the reality of managing a lifelong condition became evident.

Despite the ups and downs, Jamie tackled the challenges head-on, supported by her family and friends. She realized early on that diabetes was not a measure of success or failure but an everyday commitment to self-care and making informed decisions. Jamie's personal experience taught her the importance of having a support system and not letting diabetes dictate her life's course.

“You don’t pass or fail diabetes; it’s just everyday decision making and you’re just trying to do the best you can.”

Jamie's encounter with compassionate and dedicated nurses during her hospitalization planted a seed within her—a desire to make a difference in the lives of others facing similar struggles. Determined to give back and empower individuals with diabetes, she embarked on a nursing career.

Completing her education at the University of Central Florida, Jamie found her calling in pediatrics. Her passion for helping children and adolescents navigate the challenges of diabetes led her to become a diabetes nurse educator. In this role, she embraced every opportunity to support newly diagnosed patients, offering them hope, guidance, and a sense of control over their condition.

Jamie's commitment to diabetes care and advocacy brought her to AdventHealth, where she joined a team of esteemed doctors and researchers at the forefront of Type 1 diabetes research. Working alongside these brilliant minds, Jamie witnessed remarkable advancements in technology and scientific understanding, instilling her with hope for the future.

“It brings a lot of hope to be able to work with such wonderful, caring, and super intelligent providers. From where I was 15 years ago to how far we have come, it’s incredible.”

Her experiences and knowledge continue to shape her work as she strives to provide her patients with the best care and support.

Jamie's journey took an unexpected twist when she fell in love with Joe, who also happened to have Type 1 diabetes. They had known each other since childhood, and their shared condition created a unique bond of understanding and support. Jamie became not only Joe's educator but also his pillar of strength. Their journey together reinforced the importance of a caring and empathetic partner who comprehends the challenges of diabetes and stands by your side through thick and thin.

As Jamie and Joe navigate their lives as a married couple, both managing their diabetes, they embody resilience and the power of love. Jamie's personal journey with diabetes, her work as a diabetes nurse educator, and her involvement in cutting-edge research have shaped her life's purpose. Her unwavering dedication to empowering individuals with diabetes serves as an inspiration to all those who encounter her.

Jamie believes wholeheartedly, “ You can live your life, live your dreams, fall in love, accomplish everything you want. Never let diabetes stop you.”

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