Each year one or two students at Green Hope High School in Cary, NC, are diagnosed with diabetes. Thanks to UNCG business major and baseball pitcher Adam Boghosian, they have an immediate support network in place.
Adam was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) during his high school years at Green Hope. “I consider myself lucky,” he says. “Getting diabetes told me who I am. If nothing bad happened to me, I wouldn’t know what kind of person I really am. My diagnosis gave me drive and purpose.”
That purpose is to mentor those recently diagnosed with diabetes and to raise awareness and research dollars in support of a cure. In the six years since his diagnosis, Adam has led a fundraising project, known as “Team Bogo,” to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and to let others know they have support and guidance as they learn to live with the disease.
“One week I was in the hospital,” Adam says, thinking back to his junior year, September 2008. “The next week, I got out and I knew what I had to do.” The JDRF fundraising walk was in early October. After he registered, he wanted to rally a team of friends to join him so he started an after-school club. To his surprise, 75 people attended the first meeting.
“I thought Team Bogo was going to be a small fundraising team, but it ended up being something big.”
Adam is set to graduate from UNCG’s Bryan School of Business and Economics later this week. He’ll earn a degree in business with a minor in economics, a perfect pairing with his role as general manager of Team Bogo, he says. After all this time, the after-school fundraising club at Green Hope goes on, and his Team Bogo T-shirts are more popular than ever. The designs engage young people with fun and humorous phrases like, “Got Insulin?” and “Get Pumped.” Last year alone, he sold more than 400. In total, Adam’s efforts have resulted in more than $10,000 for JDRF.
As Team Bogo and diabetes awareness spreads, Adam notices people wearing his T-shirts in all kinds of places. On the UNCG campus. At fundraising runs. Around Greensboro and Cary. “When people travel to interesting places, they take their Team Bogo T-shirts and photograph themselves,” he says. “I have pictures of people wearing the shirts in South Africa, South America and all throughout Europe.”
Not too long ago, a woman at a fast food restaurant noticed Adam wearing his Team Bogo apparel. She purchased enough shirts on the spot to uniform her son’s basketball team; the young boy had recently been diagnosed with T1D.
Supporting other diabetics is important to Adam. There is a learning process, he explains.
“Managing diabetes is not an exact science. You have to figure out what works for you, what will affect your blood sugars. For me, as a baseball player, each season is a little different and changes how I need to respond. It’s a 24/7 job, but you’ve got to keep going.”
With the support of his family and the UNCG community, Adam has succeeded at that 24/7 job while also earning all-conference honors and being named to the athletic honor roll. The most challenging courses have been his favorite. He describes his professors as enthusiastic and supportive.
“My business classes have helped me determine my career path,” he says. “Professors here are easy to talk to. They’ve given me great advice.”
His plan is to get an MBA and, eventually, create a nonprofit with an innovative spin on funding diabetes research.
“JDRF mostly targets families. But the college market is huge. I want to help reach out to them.” Team Bogo shirts are popular on college campuses, he says. “I have a lot of friends scattered around at different universities. UNCW, Chapel Hill, USC. The shirts are all over.”
And a cure for diabetes is in sight, he predicts. “It will happen in my lifetime.”
If you would like to purchase a Team Bogo T-shirt and support JDRF, contact Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story by Andrea Spencer, University Relations
Photography by David Wilson, University Relations
Contributors: Germina Elungu, Morgan Freeman, Elijah Mclamb, Jasmine Pratt and Morris Graves