#WhyIWalk – Olivia’s Team

My name is Olivia. I’m 15 now and going into my sophomore year of high school and I have type 1 diabetes,  an autoimmune disease in which insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas are mistakenly destroyed by the body’s immune system. I am on the Varsity Cheer team and play club soccer in my town. I also play the violin for my high school orchestra and symphony groups.

Although I don’t let type 1 hold me back from doing the things I love, I am CONSTANTLY reminded I have a deadly disease. I might look like a normal teenager, but what you don’t see is that I have to test my blood sugar every few hours…that’s 1800 times per year!

BEFORE eating anything, I have to count my carbohydrates and put numbers into my insulin pump. Insulin is NOT A CURE and is not even a perfect medicine. My blood sugars can go from high to low, without reason, which makes my body feel HORRIBLE. Recently, while playing back to back soccer games, my blood sugar was over 300 in the first game and I was having trouble focusing, and then it dropped to below 60 in the second game, which made me weak and shaky. The game doesn’t stop for my type 1 and I HATE stopping to treat it! The worst is when I’m so tired and crawling into bed, I test and have low blood sugar…UGHHH. I’ve already brushed my teeth and now I have to drink a couple juices and eat M&M’s. I feel bad for my parents as they have to worry every night when I go to sleep, that I might have low blood sugar and won’t know to wake up and test.

Every year my family walks for a cure and my team, Olivia’s Team, has raised over $160,000 for JDRF. Walk day is my favorite day of the year and the one day I don’t have to worry about my type 1. Everyone around me is testing and counting their carbs and I get to compare insulin pumps with other walkers!

I am so grateful to JDRF for making my life easier with type 1. My hope is to one day say, JDRF has made type 1, TYPE NONE!

-Olivia Donofrio, Olivia’s Team