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  Back to Kids' Voices Drew

Drew's Speech
Delivered a the JDRF Corporate Kickoff Luncheon
July 15, 2004

Do you know why you are participating in this year's Walk to Cure Diabetes? You are going to help me and other children around the world who have diabetes raise money to find a cure. But why is a cure so important? Don't I look like a healthy 10-1/2 year old?

Yes, by looking at me, you cannot tell that I have diabetes. But it is on the inside that I am different. When I was 4 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1, or Juvenile, diabetes. I was in the hospital for four days while my parents learned how to care for me. You see, my pancreas was no longer making insulin on its own. Insulin is necessary in the body because it carries carbohydrates, or energy, to the cells of the body. Without it, I was tired, I was losing weight, and I was hungry all the time.

My mom and dad learned how to give me insulin shots, which I had to have twice a day. That was very hard for me to understand because I was so young. I also had to eat on a strict schedule, having regular meals and snacks at precise times during the day.

I lived that way for three years, until I began insulin pump therapy. My pump is worn on the belt of my pants and connects to the tubing that is inserted by needle into the flesh on my hip. The pump allows me to have more flexibility with my eating schedule and more accurate dosing, but my infusion site has to be changed every other day. So life with a pump does not mean no more needles! I like my pump better, but it isn't the same as a cure. With diabetes, I never get a day off from watching what I eat, counting my carbohydrates, or wearing my pump.

Besides that, I have to monitor my blood sugar by pricking my finger at least six times a day. I have to carry my blood glucose monitor everywhere I go, including my friends' houses. My friends are supportive and they understand why I have to take care of myself. It makes me feel secure to have my meter with me so I can avoid dangerous lows. Having low blood sugar is scary because I feel tired, hungry, dizzy, and sad. People who take care of me know what to do if I am low.

Many people do not understand what it is like to have diabetes and to try to control it every day. They ask me if I am wearing a beeper on my belt and they look at me funny when I order diet coke instead of regular. Besides raising money for a cure, we need to further educate people about what diabetes is and what it is like to try to live with it on a daily basis.

I did not get this disease from eating too much candy, drinking too much soda, or by being overweight. The exact cause of my disease is still unknown, but I work hard every day to keep it under control until a cure can be found. That is why your participation, dedication, and support are necessary for this year's Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. Thank you for being here as we begin this year's effort.


Drew and his mom can be reached via email at dzielinski01[@]snet.net.

  Photo
Drew delivering his JDRF speech

Published July 22, 2003
Updated August 1, 2004



                 
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