The radiant smile on 17-year-old Amiel Campbell is a clue to what’s beneath the surface: humor, and heart. “Amiel is a bubbly person,” says her mother, Rachel Campbell. “She’s kind of shy until you get to know her, and then it’s like, ‘Oh, wow!’”
Amiel loves to sing. She loves her church. She loves to help people, from collecting warm clothing for the homeless to raising funds for diabetes research.
“I’m not going to say diabetes makes me who I am, but it makes me stronger, and it makes me know I can push myself to do more than a normal person does,” says Amiel.
Amiel was 11 years old when she visited their family physician, Idella Simmons, M.D., for a minor illness. Amiel mentioned that she had been tired, thirsty and using the restroom a lot, and simple blood sugar test indicated she had diabetes. Rachel and her husband William rushed Amiel to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. “All the doctors and nurses were wonderful,” says Amiel. “They gave love, comfort and care.”
“She is the true definition of persistence over time,” says Riley Pediatric Endocrinologist Tami Hannon, M.D., who has cared for Amiel since her diagnosis. “She knows what it’s like to struggle, and she has all the smarts and capabilities to really advocate for people who are in the same position. You can’t help but love her!”
Today, Amiel is an aspiring nurse who is already working on becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant through courses at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. “I want to help encourage kids who struggle with diabetes and help them be to better with themselves,” she says. “My endocrinologists and my doctors encourage me to do better. That inspired me, and I just like helping people.”
A “go-getter” by nature, Amiel got creative to cover the $600 cost of a summer honors course in nursing at Indiana State University. “Instead of depending upon me and her dad, she went in the kitchen and started baking all these cupcakes to sell,” says Rachel. “Anything she wants to do, she goes after it. It was awesome. I was proud―I was crying!”
When Amiel learned she was selected a 2019 Riley Champion, she says, “I was psyched!” She plans use her voice to support Riley research and encourage other kids. “It’s not easy. There are times you want to give up,” says Amiel. “But you’ve got to hang in there because there are doctors out there working on a cure.”
Those doctors include Dr. Hannon, who looks forward to seeing what her patient-turned-advocate will accomplish. “I’m so proud of Amiel for never giving up,” says Dr. Hannon. “She takes whatever life throws her and she comes out ahead.”
Click here to learn more about our Riley Champions program.