Will Berkley is one of our 35 Youth Ambassadors and he recently joined us at our TypeOneNation Summit to participate on the Kids are Alright breakout session panel. We are pleased to have him share his story in our Youth Ambassador Spotlight.
My name is Will Berkley. I am 14 years old and was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes two weeks prior to my 4th birthday.
At the time, I was attending nursery school and I remember my mother waiting in the parking lot of the school to test my blood sugar and give me my shots for lunch and snacks. We had ordered a pump upon diagnosis but it took about a month for it to come and then my parents had to learn how to operate it. Basically they took care of me as I was so young, just learning to read and count. I really didn’t feel any different than the other kids. I just sort of assumed this was what all kids did.
Getting my pump for Kindergarten was awesome. I remember learning how to count my carbs, press the buttons, and always make sure my pump was locked. Although I started doing a little of my own managing, my mom still changed my sets, kept a log of all my numbers, and changed basals and ratios based on her findings. Wearing the pump definitely caused other kids to ask questions. I tried to explain but my teacher had a better idea. During circle time one morning, we had a talk about my pump, and how it helped give me insulin that my body wasn’t making. Kids asked lots of questions like “Does it hurt?” or “Will you always have it?” After that day, nobody was curious about my pump anymore, and I felt much more confident.
Fast forward to middle school. At about 12 years of age, I really learned how to manage my own diabetes. I became a master of carb counting and began changing my own sites. The only thing I really rely on my parents for these days is watching my overnight numbers and putting on my Dexcom. I wear it on the back of my arm so it is really difficult to reach.
I am currently a freshman in high school and all my friends and classmates just know me as me. Diabetes is something they know I have, but I try to never let it interfere with sports, social events or school. Ironically, there are now 2 other students in my school who are diabetic as well. Sometimes I hear a sensor alarm go off, and we look at each other and smile. All in all, I feel like I’m a pretty normal kid.
Click here to read my Top 10 Tips to get through the Holidays