My name is Melissa and I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on Friday the 13th of July, when I was just seven years old. I have had Diabetes for eleven years now and I have changed the way I have felt about my condition three times since I was diagnosed. When I was first diagnosed I thought Diabetes was the coolest thing ever. Now I carried a purse with me everywhere I went, I got cool gadgets and more supplies to play “doctor” with, and I had an interesting story to tell everyone at school. At first I loved all the questions about my condition and what I had to do to take care of myself, but as time progressed the questions kept coming and I got tired of them. As a teenager in middle school, at the age of 13, I started wanting to hide my insulin pump, which was nearly impossible, and I tried to hide everything I did that made it obvious that I was Diabetic. As I grew older I stopped being embarrassed about having Diabetes. I wore my OmniPod on my arms and legs instead of just my stomach, I didn’t hide my blood sugar meter under the table when testing my blood sugar, and I did the best I could to educate as many people as possible about Type One Diabetes. This past school year I took a day out of my high classes to present in all the health classes at my school in order to educate my peers on the difference between Type One and Type Two Diabetes. I have started to see my Diabetes as a part of me, not my defining flaw.
I walk for so many different reasons. I walk to encourage technological advancements in the world of Diabetes. Since I have been diagnosed technology for managing my Diabetes has progressed immensely. I walk to put an end to this confusing, stressful, wonderfully terrible disease that I and so many others around the world have been affected by. I walk to feel the support of my family and friends and to feel as though I can keep managing my Diabetes as long as I have them by my side. I walk to see all of the other diabetic families and all of the other people affected by Diabetes and realize that I am not alone in this fight to end T1D. I walk to raise awareness to the fact that this disease will not end itself, nor will technology improve if we don’t work for it. I walk to bring my blood sugar down from the bagel I ate that morning. I walk to cross that finish line and get a taste of what it will feel like when a cure to Type 1 Diabetes is found. I walk because I have Diabetes, Diabetes does not have me.
-Melissa Greco, Melissa’s HOPE for a Cure