Type 1 diabetes affects millions of patients and their families across the United States. While you can develop Type 1 at any age, thousands of children are diagnosed with the disease each year. During Diabetes Awareness Month this November, many are taking this opportunity to tell their story.
Unlike many other chronic diseases, Type 1 diabetes strikes suddenly. There’s no way to prevent the disease, and there is no cure. For the nearly 200,000 kids who live with Type 1 diabetes, a diagnosis means they will have to learn to live with a life-threatening disease. For their parents, they quickly become their child’s main advocate, and must work with schools, coaches and others to ensure their child is actively monitored at all times.
During Diabetes Awareness Month, stories of kids who suffer from Type 1 diabetes have been covered by many local news outlets and highlighted in blogs and websites around the country. For many families, telling their story is not only empowering, but is also a chance for them to educate the public on the dangers, symptoms and effects of Type 1 diabetes.
The Jackson Sun profiled Addison Coleman, a high school football player who is also a Type 1 diabetic in Tennessee. Coleman’s diagnosis nearly ended his football career, but with help from his parents, doctors and coaches, he was able to persevere and continue to play.
"As I have grown, I have learned to manage my diabetes in way that I am almost always good," Coleman said. "Games are a lot harder than practice. So after every drive I come off and check my blood sugar. I have a couple of Powerades that I keep for myself in case I get low."
Albion News is honoring National Diabetes Awareness both by telling the story of diabetes patients in their community in Nebraska, including Kenna Hellbusch. Hellbusch was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 8, and has been advocating for herself and others ever since. While she’s able to manage her disease, it’s not easy.
“I can’t really be carefree,” Hellbusch said. “I have to think about packing my insulin or needles every time I leave the house. Each time I eat, I have to give myself a shot. I constantly have to make sure my blood sugar levels are good. Insulin is like oxygen to me, I need it to survive.”
Throughout the month of November, the CDC will support diabetes-focused organizations, like the American Diabetes Association and Beyond Type 1, and will continue to bring awareness to the disease.