I'm Jonathan

and I am my #1!

My name is Jon. I am ten years old and was diagnosed when I was five years old on a Monday. My parents thought I had the flu but it turns out my pancreas stopped producing insulin. The doctors at Duke were great and after 4 nights in the hospital, I was playing basketball again by Saturday. The next 16 months were the hardest. Mom and Dad had to change their work schedules to be able give me insulin shots at lunch because the school did not have a nurse trained to handle the injections. My parents also had to be ready to come to school at a moment’s notice during the day if my blood sugar numbers were too high or low. I missed a lot of class time in first grade because the highs and lows made it impossible to stay in class and learn. I also had bruises on my upper arms and thighs all the time from the insulin injections. And my older brother felt neglected because most of my parent’s time was spent learning how to live with Diabetes. Type 1 affects the whole family. I got my insulin pump in June 2011 and it has made life with Type 1 Diabetes easier. The school nurse and I can now manage the insulin on our own. The pump has allowed me to catch up in school. When I started second grade, some of the teachers thought I should repeat first grade but I stayed at grade level and worked hard to catch up. It took until the end of fourth grade to do it but I am now at or above grade level. The pump made this possible. I feel sad for kids who get behind at school because the swings in blood sugar levels make it very hard to pay attention and stay in class. It is hard enough being different because you have Diabetes but you also feel dumb because you miss class and get behind. I have been helping JDRF raise money by being part of the Walk for Cure since 2011. I also helped one of my mom’s co-workers raise money for a Ride for Cure that place in Arizona in November 2014. She sent me a picture of the National JDRF chairman holding my picture while riding his bike, which was cool. I have been to open houses at Duke where the researchers share what they have been doing to reverse Type 1 Diabetes. I hope they figure it out. My dream is to live without an insulin pump. I want to be able to go to a friend’s house for a sleepover. With Type 1 this is not possible – the sleepovers have to be at my house so my parents are near by just in case. I want to be able to play travel baseball without dealing with highs and lows which make it very hard to concentrate and be in control of my body. Dad does a great job at keeping my numbers in a good range during the games but when I am on the junior high school baseball team in 2 years, he wont be there to help manage this for me. I want to live life without carrying my “Diabetes bag” with my measuring kit, juice boxes and diabetes log book everywhere I go. I want to eat something without trying to figure out how many carbs it has and then remembering to give myself insulin. My other dream is to play baseball in college and then professionally. I play for the 10 year old Hillsborough Hawks Elite travel team. From what I can tell at tournaments, I am the only kid with Type 1 playing travel baseball in Eastern North Carolina. Last year there were 3 players in the Major League Baseball with Type 1 so I know my dream is possible. I spend most of my spare time practicing baseball because I know I need to get better to play beyond high school. I also want to coach baseball when I stop playing, and if Type 1 is not cured, work with kids who have Type 1. I feel sad for kids who may not be playing sports because they cannot afford a pump or their parents are afraid to let them. I think I am an example to kids with Type 1 that you can live an almost normal life and be active. Do not be afraid to things just because you have Type 1.

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