Hannah's story...

I will never forget the second day of second grade.  On Thursday, August 21, 2008, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and my life changed forever.  My name is Hannah and I am 10 years old and have been living with Type 1 diabetes for just over two years.  From the day I was diagnosed, my family decided that diabetes would not keep me from being a typical kid.  One week after my diagnosis, I was back on the soccer field and my goal is to stay in control of my diabetes, so that it does not control me.


During my four day hospital stay at Palmetto Richland Children’s Hospital in Columbia, SC, I learned that Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can strike any one at any time.   Something had caused my body to attack itself and kill the insulin producing beta cells in my pancreas. It was not from poor diet or lack of exercise as many people wrongly assume. I didn’t cause it by eating too much sugar!   I would now be insulin dependent for the rest of my life.  We were immediately educated on how to treat and manage Type 1 Diabetes by a diabetes educator, an endocrinologist, and the nursing staff.  My parents remember being told they would know more about diabetes than a general practioner within a year and they do!


After 10 months of injection therapy to treat my diabetes, I transitioned to the Medtronic Minimed Insulin Pump.  I love being a pumper as it gives me great freedom and I have much better control over my blood sugar.    I have learned to count the carbs in most of the foods I eat and only have to call my mom for help every once in a while during the school day or while at daycare.  Even with good control, I still face challenging days chasing highs or lows and sick days can be very scary.


During my hospital stay, I received a Bag of Hope from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  The backpack included Rufus the Teddy Bear to help teach me where to give myself injections of insulin, my first glucose meter, and lots of books and a video about Type 1 Diabetes.  My parents requested to be contacted by other families living with Type 1 Diabetes.  We received phone calls from families who offered lots of support and encouragement in those early days after my very sudden and unexpected diagnosis.  We now serve as volunteers with our local Palmetto Chapter of JDRF as mentors to other newly diagnosed families because Type 1 Diabetes is definitely a disease that affects the entire family.  Our family is passionate about raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes through education and the much needed funds to find a CURE.  We participate in every fundraiser, outreach event, and education opportunity that we can!  My mother and I often speak about my diabetes journey at Team Captain Kickoffs at companies and corporations, for school groups, and anybody who will have us.  We have one of the largest JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes walk teams in our area and my school, Lexington Elementary will be hosting their first ever  JDRF Kids Walk in April of this year.


My life depends on insulin, healthy food choices, regular exercise, and all around smart decisions!  I want to share that message with all people, not just those living with diabetes.  While I would have never chosen diabetes, it chose me and through this journey I have met the most amazing kids and their families.  I am excited and proud to be an ambassador for the Diabetes Dude!





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

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2012 Ambassador
South Carolina