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During the summer before second grade, a new family moved in on my street that had two kids, one of which was my age, Michael. He was a really nice kid and after getting to know him, we soon became friends. Living on the same street, we were on the same bus and would often meet up and play basketball, soccer, or some other sport after school. For about a month, he never mentioned to me that he had diabetes. The day I found out, we were playing basketball in my driveway and we had a close game going. We were only a few points away from ending the game when he said that he had to run home. Although I reiterated that we were almost done, he insisted he would only need a couple minutes at home and then he’d come back.
After we finished our game, I asked him if everything was ok. That’s when I learned that he had diabetes and he showed me this gizmo that was attached to the inside of his pants (I now know it was a pump). He explained to me what the pump was and that he had diabetes. As any curious 7 year old would do, I asked him a lot of questions about the pump and about diabetes. He opened up and told me everything about the disease, answering every question I had. He told me that he had to leave because he wasn’t feeling well and needed some juice. He then explained to me how he needs to test his blood sugar levels, keep track of everything he eats, take his medicines, etc… This sounded very complicated and a lot to handle, but he made it seem like it was nothing at all.
To this day, we are still friends and I’m yet to see him allow diabetes to get in his way of accomplishing anything. When we play football or basketball, I’ll tackle him to the ground and contest every single shot he takes (and we’re not afraid to foul either). He also played on the soccer team for his college for 2 years. I was a little shocked when he told me he was the first player with diabetes his coach ever had on the team. We talked in depth about this and he told me that many coaches are reluctant to accept players with a disease such as diabetes due to liabilities risks with the school. We both knew this was ridiculous and that patients with diabetes can play sports just like anyone else! Great athletes such as Jay Cutler, Ty Cobb, Walt Frazier, Jerry Stackhouse, and Jackie Robinson led outstanding careers while fighting the battle against diabetes.
Michael also told me a rather chilling story over the winter vacation for the reason he and his girlfriend broke up. They had been together for almost 6 months, and things seemed to be going well. He told me out of nowhere, she called everything off because she didn’t want things to get more serious between the two of them. When he asked why, she said she didn’t want to date someone she couldn’t eventually have kids with. She thought because he had type 1 diabetes, that his kids would have the disease. Although we know this isn’t true, she still believed this hurtful myth.
For reasons like this, my company has been working with the American Diabetes Association and the Diabetic Online Community to create this diabetes guide and info graphics to de-bunk common myths and provide facts behind the disease. If you have a blog and would like to help us with our mission to provide the truth behind diabetes, join our DOC directory so that others with the disease can join you and your community!
Bio: As the philanthropy and outreach coordinator for Socks4life, I have truly been blessed to have the opportunity to give back to the diabetes community. Whether we donate diabetic socks to those with neuropathy or sponsor our local Step Out walk, my team is dedicated to doing our part to improve the lives of those with diabetes. We won’t stop our efforts until a cure is found! To connect with me, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.