Diabetes has taught me throughout my life to always have a backup plan for the backup plan. From the early days in 1994 when I was first diagnosed with T1D, my doctors always recommended keeping a snack and glucose tablets with me in case my blood sugars dipped low. To this day, my purse is always loaded with granola bars, nuts, and candy – it’s like a compact mini-mart. And it comes in handy often when restaurants take longer to bring the food than expected, and I’ve already bolused, or I find myself walking further on the beach than anticipated, and I feel my body starting to shake. When I travel, especially internationally, I make sure to keep a loaner insulin pump with me as well as pump and CGM supplies stashed in multiple suitcases and syringes with back up forms of insulin in case something crazy happens – and crazy, unexpected things always happen while traveling (it’s part of the adventure) and so long as I have my backups in place, my diabetes doesn’t have to control my life or plans.
As a newly diagnosed T1D at the age of 12, I never could have imagined how diabetes would impact the course of my career. Philanthropy has always been an essential part of my life, and giving back to the community was modeled for me at home by my parents, who were both educators in the public school system. My parents encouraged me to participate in many Walks for Diabetes and as part of the event, to send fundraising letters to friends and family. This annual exercise and leadership opportunity, coupled with many other volunteer experiences, guided me towards a career focused on philanthropy and giving back to the community. For 16 years, I worked as a fundraiser in a variety of nonprofit organizations, including one in the T1D space. I loved this work, and it has guided me to my current role at Centura Wealth Advisory as the Director of Philanthropic Strategies.
For the past year, I have been partnering with families to ensure that they have financial and philanthropic plans in place for their estate – both short and long-term. Together, we walk through conversations about their legacy and dreams as they plan for the future. The global pandemic of this past year has caused many families to either put living wills and trusts in place with a financial planner and estate attorney or to brush off older documents to ensure their intentions are still accurate. For those who have not done this yet, it is a highly recommended practice, so when life happens, financial decisions don’t need to be added to already stressful situations, medical or otherwise. This is having your backup plan in place, so to speak.
As someone with T1D, I never thought I would qualify for life insurance, one key component of an ultimate backup plan. I was concerned that if something happened to me, would my husband be able to pay our mortgage and take care of our family? Thankfully, a small handful of life insurance carriers will offer life insurance to people who live with T1D. Getting this coverage has provided me relief and comfort as well as filled a gap in my estate plan. With an A1c of 6.3, which I work on every single day, I focus on keeping myself as healthy and complication-free as possible; however, I know that as life changes, I can sleep better (despite my Dexcom beeping at me) because I have this coverage. In addition to partnering and supporting families at Centura as they build their estate plans, I am confident that my personal backup plan is also in place to provide for my family. I encourage everyone to have conversations with the trusted financial services professionals in your lives to ensure you have your plans in place so that you can live a more peaceful life.
Dana began working at Centura Wealth Advisory in 2020 as the Client Relationship Manager. She joined the team to bring together her passion for philanthropy with her commitment to help families build wealth and give back to the community.