"I wasn't going to let this change my life so that I was miserable," she said.
Normandin exercises, eats right, carefully monitors her blood sugar and now has an insulin pump to make her life "more normal," but managing the disease requires "constant calculation about what I've had to eat. I test five to seven times a day."
After seeing a video about a new artificial pancreas that combines a blood glucose monitor with an insulin pump, Normandin made another decision.
"I wanted to work to get people to be able to have one of those," she said. "It's not a cure, but a really great way to move the needle."
On Sept. 29, she'll participate with thousands of others at the GM Technical Center in Detroit–where she also works–in the Walk to Cure Diabetes. The event is expected to raise more than $1 million for JDRF, the largest charitable supporter of Type 1 diabetes research.
Normandin has a "small but mighty" team, one of 20 from GM, and says she has been "astonished" by the support from her family and friends. Her goal was to raise $1,500 and they've already exceeded $2,000.
"I think it's really important for people who have this disease and people who are around people who have this disease to know this is something you can control and we need to find a cure for it," Normandin said.
In addition to the Detroit walk, another is being held at Hudson Mills Metropark. The events will feature food, entertainment, children’s activities and special attractions. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m.; the walks begin at 9:30 a.m., rain or shine, and conclude at 11:30 a.m.
Walkers can register at walk.jdrf.org. There is no registration fee to participate, but participants are encouraged to raise pledges. Walkers raising $100 or more will receive a JDRF Walk t-shirt the day of the event. Walkers raising $200 or more are eligible for prizes ranging from JDRF-branded merchandise to electronics, toys and housewares.