Heroes with Diabetes

| Jun 1, 1999

I wish that someone had handed me this issue when I got diabetes.

I was 17, and I had a job washing dishes at a Sambo's restaurant. Little did I know that my immune system was busy taking out the insulin-producing cells in my pancreas. Every five minutes I took a trip to the bathroom and then back to the Coke machine to quench my insatiable thirst. I knew something was not right. My doctor told me I had diabetes, and that I would have to take shots for the rest of my life.

Back then, in 1974, very little information about diabetes was available. I faced ignorance about my condition, and was also discriminated against because of it (p. 18). How I wished I had an advocate to help educate those around me, and to let me know about new therapies to treat diabetes (p. 16).

We are providing an issue that brings together the best information available for young people. Let me draw your attention to some of the highlights.

Every kid with diabetes is a hero in my book. And let us not forget the strength needed by every parent of a child with diabetes. These brave parents are heroes too.

You'll find heroes throughout this issue, but let me just point out a few.

Colby Smith is a mountain climber with an incredible story to tell (p. 23). Besides braving the same incredible odds as his nondiabetic climbing buddies, he also had to deal with blood that froze on his fingertip before it hit the testing strip, distinguishing between the similar symptoms of altitude sickness and hypoglycemia, and running out of food. Even with these added challenges, he made it to the top. Colby sums up his experience by saying, "Look what I can do," when I control my diabetes. He speaks for other heroes as well. Look at what Nicole Johnson has done (p. 36), with drive, determination and access to the latest in medical technology.

Basketball star Chris Dudley speaks honestly about managing his BGs on the court and his dream to lead a basketball camp for other type 1s like himself (p. 32). He speaks wisely about the need for education, saying, "Don't let diabetes stop you...you need to learn how to take care of yourself to deal with it."

Another act of heroism is getting up to try again after failure. Gary's educator shares with us how he overcame BG extremes to start a morning exercise program (p. 37).

In our Q & A section, we've included some advice on helping people who don't want to help themselves, along with important information about preventing diabetes (p. 42).

Also, tell your kids or patients about the famous people with diabetes we've highlighted on page 34.

We Need Your Help

We have printed extra copies of this issue because the information is so essential for young people and their families. The knowledge and inspiration people get from this issue can help them galvanize and mobilize their efforts to achieve both physical and emotional wellness.

Please help us get the word out, by giving away free issues. Give a copy of this issue to all families who could benefit from having a weapon against diabetes. I'll send a free copy to all requests. Call my voice mail at (800) 234-1218, ext. 140.

You can also get a box of 50 issues for your diabetes group or practice. See page 46 for details.

We have many more important news stories to share with you over the next few months, so stay tuned.

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Categories: Celebrities, Diabetes, Food, Insulin, Low Blood Sugar, My Own Injection

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