Running My Race
In seventh grade, I was living a healthy, active, lifestyle and always preferred savory snacks to sweets (I’d take potato chips over candy any day) while adjusting to a new school and life as a pre-teen. I switched from softball cleats one day to ballet shoes the next. In the spring of 2004, I was the pitcher for my school’s softball team, preparing for my dance recital and going to theater rehearsals. I had always been a bit of a perfectionist, working hard to do the best I could at whatever I was working on or towards. My parents were used to me doing both softball and dance; I began ballet at age 3 and softball at age 5. There wasn’t too much they could do to stop me from wanting to do what I loved—I would just do it anyway.
All of a sudden, I became thin. I hadn’t realized it because I was so busy. I was 12 years old, preparing for our softball playoffs. It was two months before my 13th birthday. On the last Monday of the month, I started to feel sick and decided to stay home from school. It was probably the first time my body had a chance to rest in about a month.
I remember that day pretty vividly, and I was so thirsty, nauseous and tired. I went to the doctor who gave me a finger prick, which checked my blood sugar. It read 700mg/dL (38.8mmol/L). My doctor, my pediatrician since birth, the same one who had always told my mom at every check-up that I was “healthy as could be,” told me I had type 1 diabetes.
I didn’t know much about type 1, except that the character Stacey from the 1995 film The Babysitter’s Club had it (it was one of my favorite movies) and I thought, “Okay, I know what that is, with the syringes! I can do this!” It was not until I was launched into diabetes training classes the very next day that I realized the longevity of it all. Being the type of independent person that I am, I gave myself my first shot, and have been the only one to give myself shots ever since.
I believe that in life, everyone has his or her own race to run, dreams to pursue and challenges to overcome. Having type 1 became a part of who I was, but I’ve never let it define me—only my character defines me. Yet, type 1, along with my purple Medtronic Minimed 530G insulin pump, has been alongside me during every victory and every setback. Type 1 has inspired me to mentor middle school girls throughout college, be a better role model for young kids, and do all that I love with more conviction. I’ve never stopped running after my dreams despite having type 1, from dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade to studying abroad in Italy and acting in plays and films.
One important lesson that having type 1 diabetes has taught me is that it is important to keep running, and keep going even if things get tough. I took it upon myself to take care of this disease from the moment I gave myself that first shot. I have learned the strength that comes from having a community that supports and uplifts you. I am incredibly thankful for Beyond Type 1 and the many amazing people it has connected me to. I am inspired by my Beyond Type Run teammates, who like me, continue to run their race fiercely and passionately without letting type 1 slow them down. It’s interesting to think that if I didn’t have this community, I would not have met the amazing people, memories and experiences that Beyond Type 1 has connected me to, and how I wouldn’t have gotten the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon at age 26! I can honestly say for that, I am grateful to have type 1. How crazy is that?!
To learn more about the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon Beyond Type Run team here.