Motivational Speaker Gains Support for Diabetes Care

Vera Hilliard

December 02, 2022

When motivational speaker Vera Hilliard was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2005, she did her research and thought she learned everything she needed to know about managing her blood sugar. A decade later, one of Vera’s square-dancing friends told her about the MOLLY Diabetes Center, located off the campus of Hackensack University Medical Center in the Wellness Center in Maywood. Vera found out there is a lot more to living a long, healthy life than she previously realized.

“For all I thought I knew, the MOLLY Diabetes Education Center gave me a lot of new, practical information,” says Vera, who is now 79 but says she looks and feels like she’s 60. “We all need a good support system—the right people in the right places. They give you the confidence to know what to expect as a person with diabetes.”

Vera attended a diabetes management class, then continued with regular sessions with certified diabetes nurse educators, dieticians and social workers to keep her on track. “As well as we do under their guidance, when we are set free, many of us don’t keep up with it,” she says.

Tips for Better Managing Diabetes

Vera has put to practice a number of tips to better manage her diabetes and live life to the fullest. She usually comes to the MOLLY Diabetes Education Center with her husband of 57 years, Ron, who provides valuable support and motivation.

Beyond lifestyle changes and medication, here are some tips for managing diabetes:

  • Form a diabetes team that includes a certified diabetes care specialist and educator, registered dietitian and practitioners whom you trust.
  • Lean on the support of your family or friends.
  • Join an online or in-person support group to seek encouragement and tips from others with diabetes.
  • Find an exercise partner for daily walks, trips to the gym or other physical activity to hold each other accountable.
  • Take small steps rather than massive changes overnight. 

Today, Vera benefits from increased energy levels, allowing her to continue inspiring people all over the country, from Fortune 500 companies and community organizations to medical staff and professional sports teams.

“I love helping people with self motivation and self management. The tools I teach apply to relationships, the job, the whole nine yards,” Vera says. “One of the greatest things in life is when you can look back and be glad you did what you did.  I’m just happy to be able to keep doing the things I do.”

Diabetes Education for All Types, All Ages 

The core program at the MOLLY Diabetes Education Center is the diabetes management class that meets monthly for about six months, along with individual sessions with nurse educators, dieticians and social workers. Graduates of the class come back twice a year for refreshers.

“We provide education to all ages from youngest to oldest, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, gestational and pre-diabetes,” says Toni Isabella, R.N., BSN, CDCES, manager of the MOLLY Diabetes Education Center. “We see people newly diagnosed and those who have had diabetes for a long time. Protocols have changed, technology has changed, and there are always new medications. Even someone who went through education in the past can learn something. When you have a team looking out for you, it helps you stay focused.”

Adds Vera: “They know how to gently tell you what you need to hear. They equip you with the tools that make you a team player. You can always call them. They make you feel like you are very important to them.”

Next Steps & Resources:

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.

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