“My name is Matt Wellwood and I have been T1D for 20 years. I remember being sick for weeks and not knowing why. My doctor kept telling my parents and I that I had strep and a virus. I was losing weight, had a decreased appetite, and was always thirsty. I struggled being a 10 year old boy because I had no energy. It was finally suggested that I be tested for type 1 diabetes. Sure enough, that was the answer. My mom started crying as did I. I knew my cousin had diabetes but had no idea what it was and why my mom was crying. Imagine being 10 years old and finding out that you have to start pricking your fingers 4-5 times per day, sometimes more, and give yourself shots just as many times. I was terrified because I didn’t know anything. Luckily, I had great support from my family and my doctors to help get me through my hardships and the major change in my life.
Fast forward to high school. I had some of the best friends in school but there were a few people who were “friends” that would get upset with me every time I tested my blood sugar and gave my shots at the lunch table; “Can’t you do that in the bathroom? That’s so gross. We’re trying to eat.” It was as if I had a disease that offended them. I felt embarrassed because of my disease but I didn’t change my life for them. I was able to play basketball, baseball, and intramural sports throughout high school and thrive. I never let T1D change who I was and my goals in life. College was the same way. I got my first pump when I was 18 and my life changed dramatically, in a positive way. I had better blood sugar control and felt like I had more freedom.
I first started volunteering with JDRF Dallas when I moved to TX. I started mentoring and participating in the local chapter as much as I could. Having a group of individuals just like me was exciting to be around. JDRF does so many great things for the T1D community and provide amazing resources for those in need, especially children and their families. The main goal is to turn Type 1 into Type None, which is why they are able to raise funds and be the best at doing so.
The JDRF Walk is an amazing event that raises a lot of money to provide researchers the funds necessary to find a cure, enhance technology, and make groundbreaking discoveries to help improve my life, along with everyone else living with T1D. There is no better organization to be involved with and give back to. I am proud to be T1D and work hard every day to stay under control. One thing I do to help raise funds is send emails every other week and utilize the Facebook App. Giving back to your donors is also exciting. There are many organizations and companies around town who will donates a gift certificate, or small prize that can be included in a drawing for those who donate. T-shirts are also exciting and fun. Design a shirt and raise money by having others purchase the shirt for the JDRF Walk. It’s fun and it’s easy.
Join me and Team Livebetes on Saturday, August 19th for the annual JDRF One Walk!”