Supporting Families
Living with Diabetes
through the use of Community Advocacy, Social Media, & BLUE Flamingos!

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2012 Jr. Ambassador
West Virginia

Ben’s Story…

My name is Ben and I am 4 years old. I LOVE Iron Man, SpongeBob, my little brother, Oliver, & Halloween. I want to be a bull rider, a doctor and fly a space ship. I also have finger tips of steel because I have DIABETES.
I was diagnosed with type one diabetes on THANKSGIVING DAY, in 2007. I was only 13 months old...just a baby.
I don't remember a lot of it-or any of it, but I know that I was very sick for about a week. I was VERY thirsty and kept soaking through
my diapers. mom said we went through a whole box in about 3 days! I wanted to drink and sleep. I lost weight and
my mom thought I kept getting into nail polish remover, because my breath smelled a lot like acetone.
on thanksgiving day, my mom & dad had spent the day wondering if they should take me to the hospital. I didn't eat any turkey.
nor mashed potatoes...and surely no pumpkin pie.
I was ASLEEP. I couldn't wake up long enough to even think about anything but more water.
my mom had become friends with some girls on a diabetes web-site after she started to do some research when her friend’s dog had to be put to sleep
because of diabetes! 'how do you know your dog has diabetes', she said...
the symptoms were the same as MINE! my symptoms were OBVIOUS, but mom didn't think
that diabetes was possible since I didn't have any one with diabetes in my family. luckily, those girls that my mom met online,
kept her in check and she found out that it doesn't have to be hereditary. she learned a lot, especially about testing for KETONES in the urine.
so on thanksgiving night, mom tested my urine. the strip turned BRIGHT PURPLE immediately!
we rushed to the ER. they rushed us to CHILDRENS HOSPITAL OF PITTSBURGH, PA. my blood sugar was over 900.
our whole world was turned upside down. I had just been diagnosed with type one (juvenile) diabetes.
we stayed in the hospital for 6 long days & nights. there was a lot of needles, tubes and tears.
the next days were spent learning how to live and manage life with this disease. my mom and dad met with so many
people who were there to help me get better. nurses, endocrinologists, dietitians, diabetic educators. everyone was so helpful.
They all knew how scared my parents were and how afraid I was but they took such good care of me. In the end, it wasn't so bad.
I knew my mom and dad could handle it-and so could I.

Today, I am on an insulin pump. I LOVE my black pump. I have had all different colors, but black is my favorite because it looks strong.
I am also on a continuous glucose monitor, so at night it helps my mom rest a little better. I can still play hard and eat whatever I want.
As long as my blood sugar is checked every couple of hours, I am as free as a bird!
Diabetes changed my life, but I’m not afraid.