Because the World Doesn’t Wait for Diabetes


Ryan Stack, 17, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes 13 years ago, and he’s walked for JDRF for 12 of them (he was diagnosed too late to participate in his first year).

“I really like what JDRF has done to fund projects, like continuous glucose monitors, pumps and the closed loop system,” said Ryan. “Because of JDRF’s work, they’ve made controlling diabetes easier than it was before JDRF existed.”

Ryan acknowledges T1D is stressful, as he prepares for his senior year of high school. At the beginning of the year, he educates his teachers about T1D and what that means for him in the classroom.

“If my blood sugar is off, I could do worse on a test than I might have done if my levels weren’t off. And I have to check myself all the time, it’s a burden because I could be paying attention in class, but I have to worry about my diabetes instead. But the world doesn’t wait for my diabetes. Even when it’s not cooperating with me, I still have to deal with it and perform,” he said.

Ryan hasn’t let T1D prevent him from being active. He played baseball when he was younger (and fundraised enough money to meet his favorite player, Ron Santo, when he used to walk in Chicago). When Ryan entered high school, he joined the rowing team and keeps his pump, continuous glucose monitor and carbs in a waterproof bag in the bottom of the boat to manage sugar lows. He is now the captain of the rowing team and participates on his school’s drum line.

Even though managing his T1D is a lot of work, Ryan has the support of friends and teammates, both at school and when it comes to joining him for JDRF One Walk.

His team size has grown significantly from just his immediate family in his first year. Each year Ryan sends a letter to his friends and family seeking their support to fundraise for JDRF. Over the past 10 years, he has raised more than $250,000 to help fund critical research for T1D.

“In the future for T1D, I hope to see an artificial pancreas or a closed loop system that will monitor and manage my blood sugar levels that is even faster and more accurate, so I can carry on with life without having to check and manage my blood sugar myself,” said Ryan.

Ryan will participate in One Walk for his 14th consecutive time this year as Ryan’s Rescuers at JDRF One Walk – Dexter on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at Hudson Mills Metropark. Join him and thousands in the movement to end type 1 diabetes. Sign up for JDRF One Walk today.