For many years now, so many of you have supported us, separately or collectively, in our fight for the cure against Type 1 Diabetes. This year, we are combining our individual teams to become The Warriors! Sad as we are that we have not found the Cure, we are happy and hopeful as we face this fight and our daily challenges together. As sophomores at Maple Grove Senior High, you might say we are “typical” teenagers:
Hailey: I came up on my 5-year "Dia-versary" last June. We laugh about it (my friends Meghan and Julia and I) but it really is no joke. I believe our team name symbolizes who we are: Warriors. We are stronger because we have to be, and we will continue to fight on a daily basis. But, we are also human and have days that this disease brings us down: we don't feel good, we miss school, we don't perform well on tests or in sports, we can't sleep or we can't get out of bed. I play hockey for Maple Grove Girls Varsity, and it is my favorite sport. I also play Varsity Lacrosse, have a wonderful and supportive family and amazing friends. I'm so blessed to have Julia and Meghan in my life because we have so much fun together and we understand each other so well. I won't let this disease slow me down, but I am truly hoping for a cure.
Julia: I'm the “rookie” of our group. Being a Type 1 diabetic is never easy and I have a lot more to think about than most kids my age. Diabetes constantly interrupts my everyday life. Like the time I forgot my insulin and supplies 30 minutes away after a long day of horse showing and had to drive back late at night to get it. Or the time I had a scary low blood sugar of 20 (80-130=normal) and told my friend who was with me to "get help and call 911 if I pass out." Another time I needed a new infusion set and didn't have any with me. My parents set their alarms in the middle of the night to test my blood and get me juice so I don't go low during the night. Last week at Lifetime I was getting weird looks for being on the treadmill while eating starburst. Recently my insulin pump broke and I had to go back to daily shots and still ran super high and felt sick for three days until my new pump arrived. Despite all the frustrations and the daily grind, I am lucky to have the support of my family and friends...especially Meghan and Hailey who always know exactly how I feel. I am also glad for JDRF who helps us live better and is getting us closer to a cure! That's the most important thing to me. I will not let T1D define me and will not let it stop me from living my life to the fullest!! YOLO. Come walk with us. Your support makes a difference to us...and many others.
Meghan: I’m the group “veteran,” diagnosed in 1st grade. Today, I play soccer and the piano and do all the other things a typical girl my age would! I have great friends and family and I know I’m very blessed but sadly, I’ve now lived more of my life with diabetes than without. I deal with crazy highs and/or lows and the symptoms that come with them on a daily (and nightly) basis. I’ve even suffered a couple seizures. These symptoms (headaches, dizziness, shakiness, blurred vision, stomach aches, and more) can mean I am unable to focus in school or that I have to sit out during a soccer game: I play for Maple Grove High School and Maplebrook Traveling Club. Diabetes is aggravating and stressful. I am grateful to have the support of my friends and family, especially Hailey and Julia who completely understand what I am going through and always support me. I hope and pray for a cure for me and for others. This is my 9th year of searching!
For those that don’t know, Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Its onset has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle and there is nothing you can do—at present—to prevent it or get rid of it.
Even though we work hard to take care of ourselves every single day, the life expectancy for each of us dropped the day we were diagnosed. And, while there have been great improvements in how people with Type 1 diabetes are able to take care of themselves and insulin injections keep us alive, it is NOT a cure! We live with the daily threat of diabetic seizures and the possibility of long-term health issues like heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, and more as we try to balance blood sugar levels with insulin, food, and activity.
With both genetics and environmental triggers to blame, about 80 people are diagnosed each day with Type 1 diabetes in the U.S. and the prevalence of T1D in Americans under age 20 rose 23% between 2001 and 2009. Type 1 diabetes accounts for nearly $15 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. each year.
Please support us in this year’s JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. Click on anyone of us as “walkers” or donate to our team. We also welcome you to join us in person at the Walk, 8:30 a.m. on February 22, at the Mall of America. As always, we are so thankful to those of you that have donated before and/or that come to walk with us. There are so many worthy causes that need help; that is why it means even more to have your support. Won’t you please help make the cure real in our lifetime?