Nicole Hernandez, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, achieves her career and personal goals with grace and conviction. The 26-year-old Cuban-American is strongly dedicated to raising funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and developed the Art for a Cure annual fundraiser event in Coral Gables, Miami. She also just completed her Master's degree in Business Administration at the University of Miami. We spoke to her about her efforts to make a change towards diabetes research and what she loves most about being Latina.
Read more about her inspiring story below:
As a young woman with diabetes, you have helped raise funds to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. What's the most fulfilling part of forming part of the cause?
“Before I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I thought I was invincible. I was 21-years-old. I felt as if I was on top of the world. When I heard those words, ‘You have type 1 diabetes,’ my world stopped. At first I was upset and sad, but eventually I educated myself and accepted that I could make something good out of something bad. Whether the money I raise helps scientists with their research to find a cure, or helps underprivileged children and adults with type 1 diabetes, I want to leave this life one-day knowing that I did everything in my power to help others."
Tell us about Art for a Cure and how you formed part of the event?
“After taking part in the ‘South Florida JDRF Walk’ for two years, I really wanted to do more for the JDRF. That is how I decided to create the Art of a Cure. I wanted the Art of a Cure to be an evening where people could mingle and be social for a good cause. To raise money, tickets are sold via a JDRF platform online. We also raise money through a silent auction where local businesses and restaurants donate items. I am really looking forward to the 2nd Annual Art of a Cure this year on October 13th at the Artrageous Gallery in Coral Gables, FL. I know it’s going to be amazing!"
What does being Latina mean to you?
"I love being Cuban-American. What my grandparents did for freedom from a Communist regime makes me feel very blessed and truly thankful. My grandparents came to the United States to provide a better life for their children. My parents have done everything possible to provide my sister and me with a life better than theirs. I will do the same for my children. That’s what being Latina means to me."
What is your dream in the future?
"My dream is for my small fundraiser to become a large gala that can raise millions of dollars for type 1 diabetes research and education. I do see this happening, but know I have a long way to go. I do believe that with the support of the JDRF Family, South Florida Community, and my family, this can one day become a reality."