2250 finger pricks, 24000 units of insulin, and 125 pump site changes in a year is what keeps my Type 1 Diabetes in control. On September 21, 2013, Mom and I along with hundreds of other riders from across the country and the world will be riding 100 miles in Nashville Tennessee to raise funds to find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system attacks and destroys certain cells in the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ about the size of a hand and is located behind the lower part of the stomach. These cells, called beta cells, are contained, within small islands of endocrine cells called the pancreatic islets. Beta cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body which then use it for energy. When beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced. As a result glucose stays in the blood in high concentrations where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January, 2011. Only 1 in 400 diabetics is diagnosed at age 16. I now fight the daily fight of maintaining my blood sugar between 70mg/dl and 120mg/dl. This includes finger pricks at least 6 to 8 times per day and insulin delivered by a pump for the carbohydrates I consume. Every 2 to 3 days I have to move my pump injection site to another location on my body. Being a Type 1 diabetic is challenging enough. Adding competitive swimming and active cycling to my routine makes it even harder. My swim practices and meets are complicated by additional finger pricks and insulin doses. Training rides for the Ride to Cure include stops for finger pricks and snacks.
That said, the disease hasn’t slowed me down one bit. I am not letting it define me. I am making it my mission to show others what you can do as a Type 1 diabetic. I am attending The College of William and Mary, studying biology, and have been for swimming for The Tribe. My first season as a college athlete was filled with many life-time-bests and a freshman record in the 1650 yard freestyle.
Over the past year there have been tremendous breakthroughs in a number of areas where JDRF-funded researchers are focusing their efforts. These include the testing of an artificial pancreas, experimental treatments that can delay the full onset of diabetes for up to two years, new drug therapies to slow or reverse the impact of life threatening complications and new immunosuppressive drug therapies that dramatically boost the rate of success of transplanted insulin sensing and producing cells into patients who have long suffered from type 1 diabetes.
I hope that you will help me raise more funds to continue this great research. To donate, click the "donate to Hannah" button above or mail a check made out to JDRF to me at 6525 Given Road, Cincinnati OH 45243.
I sincerely appreciate any donation you can make toward this cause. I'll be thinking of your generous donation as I peddle my way along the Natchez Trace Parkway!
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