My name is Garrett. For me, it all started back in 1993; I was two years old and a sucker for juice. My half-sister and my uncle have Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), so my parents were well aware of the symptoms. My cravings for juice grew stronger, and the number of times I would say, “I have to go potty” tripled. My mom knew it was coming and one night she woke up thinking, “I need to check on him”. When she walked into my bedroom, she saw me lying in a pool of sweat. My parents rushed me to the hospital where my blood sugar read over 800; that’s when I officially was diagnosed with T1D. From that day forward, my life changed and all I can say is, moms really do know everything.
Growing up, I would say, “I have to do my check”. It was me announcing that I had to check my blood sugar. Some kids would ask to go to the nurse with me to watch. One of those friends is now a nurse – ironic? Now, when I say, “I have to do my check”, I get head nods and questions asking, “why don’t you just use a credit card?” It’s funny to me now as it reminds me of childhood phrases that stuck around. T1D also came with insecurities. Some kids would use it as an excuse to make fun of me. Looking back, had I asked the bullies to try it themselves, they would cry from the finger prick and I’d say look who’s laughing now!
Now, 28, I’m older, wiser, and want nothing more than to show kids and teens that just because we have this life-altering illness, we can still be anything and everything we want to be (superheroes preferred). I participate in JDRF’s One Walk. I walk to make those with T1D not feel different. I walk to show people we are all the same. We are all human and we all have different hobbies and different challenges. To me that’s the definition of “normal” and that’s the type of normal I want everyone else to see.
I walk in memory of my sister who lost her battle at a time when T1D was not as understood as it is today.
I walk to get closer to finding a cure.
I walk to dia-BEAT-this!
By Garrett Young