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My name is Craig, I am sixteen years old and have had Type 1 diabetes for six years. Living with diabetes has had its challenges. My pancreas doesn’t work correctly, and because of this, I do certain things that other children don’t ever have to do. I must prick my finger and test my blood sugar at least six times per day. Until I got my insulin pump, I had to give myself shots every time I ate anything containing carbs or sugar, and take “correction shots” if my blood sugar was too high. If my blood sugar is too low then I become sweaty, weak and just feel all around awful. Te scariest part is that if my blood sugar goes too low, I could have seizures. Tere are also negative side effects to having blood sugar that is too high, including having trouble concentrating in school, being really thirsty and having to go to the bathroom frequently.

Diabetes also impacts activities that I do at school, at home and on vacation. I play two sports every year at school, soccer and baseball. Sometimes it is difficult to manage my blood sugars during activity because exercise can lower my blood sugar, while at the same time, the excitement of playing in the game can raise my blood sugar. I must check my blood sugar before, during and aſter I play sports. When I was younger I had to go to the school nurse several times a day to be checked, but now that I am in high school I basically manage my diabetes myself. I have an insulin pump but need to be careful to keep it safe. It is a very expensive and amazing litle machine. It looks like a pager or cell phone and hooks onto my belt or fits in my pocket. If I calculate the number of

carbs that I eat at a meal or snack and program that number into the pump, it automatically knows how much insulin that I need, and administers the insulin without my having to take multiple daily shots. My pump site must be changed once every three days. Tis means that now I take one shot every three days instead of, on average, twelve shots every three days, which is a great improvement!

My family and I are very thankful for JDRF, the world’s leading funder of type 1 diabetes research. Not only do they raise money to try to find a cure for diabetes, but they have been available as a support for all families with children who have diabetes. For example, when I was first diagnosed, I was visited by a boy named Randy and his mom, Barbara. Randy was already a few years into his Type 1 diagnosis when we met him. He brought me a stuffed bear, which had patches on his fur in all the places that I used to choose to give myself shots. While Randy and I visited with each other and played video games, our moms talked about the day-to- day issues of raising a child with diabetes. Tis was the beginning of our path down this road and it was comforting to feel that we were not alone in this journey. Now my family is available to help other kids who are also starting down this same path. We are very thankful to JDRF for bringing us all together.

JDRF also has many activities including a October 2012 13

youth ambassador program. Several Type 1 children serve as ambassadors and atend the various JDRF events and activities throughout the year such as the Hope Ball and the Walk to Cure Diabetes. My friends and family have joined my Walk Team, Craig’s Crew, every year to show their support for finding a cure. Te Walk is so much fun - there is music, dancing, food, clowns and entertainment. It is a great feeling to be supported by friends and family at the Walk. Tis year I am excited to be involved as the youth logistics chair for the Walk. My friends and I will set up, clean up and help in any way needed on Walk Day.

Even though my six years of living with diabetes has sometimes been challenging and difficult, there have also been positives from this situation. I have had to grow up prety quickly because I have to take care of myself and be aware of what is going on in my body. I have met some great friends who I would have never met without this diagnosis. Tere are many people out there who have helped me along the way and now I am there to give back and help others also.

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