Stories about: Type 1 diabetes

Living life with type 1 diabetes: Justin’s story

little boy with an insulin pump

My name is Justin and I’m 9 years old. I’m a Cub Scout and I like to swim, ski, race my bike and play LEGOS — I love being active and hanging out with my friends. But last March, I got some unexpected news that was pretty scary at first. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

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Faces of the Boston Marathon team

Miles for Miracles Lance
Lance, a Miles for Miracles runner, with his twins Lily and Luke

When I tell people I’m running the Boston Marathon as part of the Boston Children’s Hospital Miles for Miracles team, the standard reaction is the same. “I could never run 26.2 miles.” My response never varies. “Yes, you can … with the right training, anyone can do it.” My kids can’t give up when they don’t feel like doing something, and neither can I. ~ Lance

My feet ache. I’m often exhausted. I’m hungry all the time. And committing to a long run every Saturday — rain, snow or shine — isn’t always fun. But my efforts pale in comparison to what drives so many others on this team. There’s Lance, a non-runner channelling his children’s determination. And Hazel, a Boston Children’s operations manager and one of the fiercest runners I’ve ever met. And Melissa, a quiet presence, shouldering constant, unimaginable grief.

There’s no way I can acknowledge every single person who has been — and will be — part of this journey, so I’m approaching it the same way I think about the marathon … in 5-mile increments.

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How to survive six months in the wilderness with Type 1 diabetes

Hiking in Vermont

Every January, for a few short weeks, the population of picturesque Marlow, New Hampshire, grows just a little larger.

A dozen or so high school students converge upon the storybook New England village to begin preparation for an epic adventure: a 600-mile circumnavigation of Vermont by backcountry ski, white water canoe, rowboat and bicycle, led by Marlow-based wilderness school Kroka Expeditions.

Under the mentorship of guides and woodsmen, the students learn skills to navigate the six-month, semester-long journey through the wilderness. There is no “how to” book, no survival guide—just a few unwritten rules to live by. But 18-year-old Rachel Hemond, who has Type 1 diabetes, doesn’t need much direction when it comes to survival.

She’s figured that out on her own.

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Opportunity knocks: diabetes teaches life lessons

Diabetes management can drain anyone. The multiple daily needle sticks, constant need to estimate carbohydrate intake and occasional hypoglycemic dizzy spells are tough to manage. These challenges may be magnified for kids with diabetes, who often find it difficult to stay on top of managing their condition while also juggling school, sports and time with friends.

Yet, 19-year-old Henry Abrams, a Cape Cod teen diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 12, says he’s grateful for its life lessons.

Henry, currently an engineering student at University of Massachusetts, credits his ability to keep his glucose levels under control to his math finesse. “I can estimate the amount of sugar in food and make the adjustments I need.”

Henry’s mother, Lysbeth Abrams, says he’s taken the diagnosis in stride from day 1, finding ample opportunities to learn from his condition, whether it be math or nutrition or task management.

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