When 12 year-old Nicholas Barr began using the bathroom more frequently, drinking more water and eating more food than usual, he and his family attributed this odd behavior to his recent participation in cross-country running. However, after this behavior persisted for about a week, Nicholas and his family felt something was wrong and eventually went to the doctor, where he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Looking back on the day of his diagnosis, Nicholas recalled, “They checked my blood sugar and I was 541, when I should’ve been around 130. They sent me to the hospital after that, and I was there for two or three days.”
When Nicholas was first diagnosed, he knew little about T1D. In the beginning months, Nicholas had to research and learn how to count carbs, check his blood sugar and adjust to living with diabetes. Without an insulin pump, Nicholas received around five shots a day in order to regulate his blood sugar.
“It changes your world in the beginning,” said Nicholas’ mother, Denise. “You just think it will never be the same, but it will. It becomes the new norm and it becomes easier for sure. You just have to stick with it.”
Now, three years after his diagnosis, Nicholas can count most carbs off the top of his head. He also has both an insulin pump and a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), which syncs with a phone application that can tell him and his family his blood sugar with just the click of a button.
Like many individuals living with T1D, Nicholas strives to raise awareness in order to educate others who are unaware of the disease. This dedication has led him to become avidly involved with a T1D support group, as well with JDRF.
Nicholas first became involved with JDRF after seeing a poster at a doctor check up promoting JDRF One Walk. Over the past three years, Nicholas has also helped raise diabetes awareness in his role as a JDRF Youth Ambassador.. “Being involved with JDRF has been a great support system for our family,” Denise states. “It gives Nicholas a connection, and knowing that we are raising money for a cure gives him motivation to help and be involved.”
Nicholas still lives a healthy and active lifestyle with T1D. He continues to run cross-country, and enjoys skiing, skateboarding, and running track, proving that T1D can’t and won’t stop him from doing the things he loves.
This upcoming September, Nicholas will be walking in his third JDRF One Walk to raise money for T1D research with his team, “Raise the Barr.”
Each year, more than 900,000 people across the country participate in JDRF One Walk. Support helps fund T1D research to help those living with T1D, and eventually eliminate the disease to turn Type One into Type None. For more information on the JDRF One Walk and how to participate, please visit our event page.