Kendall Burns’ type 1 diabetes (T1D) story began in 2013 with lunch and a routine cheerleading physical when she was 10 years old. A standard urine test showed the presence of ketones, which occurs when there is not enough insulin to help the body use sugar for energy.
Her mother Kelly, a nurse, was shocked by the news, knowing the presence of ketones is a sign of diabetes. Kendall’s father Sean was very concerned as well. The pediatrician recommended a blood test, which showed an elevated sugar level. Kelly explained they had lunch before the visit, which included a soft drink, so the pediatrician watched Kendall’s sugar levels, but they didn’t come down in a typical way. The next step was a visit to an endocrinologist, and it was determined Kendall was considered pre-diabetic, meaning though she didn’t currently meet all the criteria for T1D, she would be insulin-dependent imminently.
Kelly, Sean and Kendall used this opportunity to learn more about type 1 diabetes (T1D) before it officially became part of Kendall’s life. They attended JDRF’s TypeOneNation Conference and did some research. What they learned soon came in handy when Kendall didn’t feel well after a fall cheerleading gala. Kendall recognized the symptoms from a conversation she had with another teen at TypeOneNation. Sure enough, a blood check showed her sugar levels were high and a follow-up appointment with the endocrinologist resulted in a three-day hospital stay and an official diagnosis.
Now in ninth grade, Kendall has always been open about her T1D. She explained T1D to her friends, openly tests her blood, changes her insulin pump and gives herself shots as needed. She continues to be outspoken to help show T1D in a positive light. She is active in theater, and with the help of her continuous glucose monitor, is now able to attend sleepovers without worry (since she and her parents can see her levels via a smartphone app).
This year, Kendall was selected as a JDRF One Walk Ambassador, and later this year, she and her family are hosting fundraising events for JDRF.
“We joined One Walk to support Kendall by helping her connect with others who have T1D so she doesn’t feel different or alone,” said Kelly. “T1D is a full-time job, but we make sure Kendall can live a normal life, and we’re working to help others do the same. Kendall is our hero!”
If you want to help put an end to T1D, this is your opportunity. By joining JDRF One Walk you’ll support breakthroughs that get us closer to a cure—and provide hope to the millions affected by this disease.