Who Do I Love?


Editor’s Note: Mary is a part of the 2018 Beyond Type Run Team, sponsored by Dexcom and the Omnipod® Insulin Management System. She also ran in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon

Since we are in the midst of celebrating our first year at Beyond Type 1, celebrating those we love who have helped us get to where we are today, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on who I love.

I love my family.

I love my brother Jack for his selflessness and quiet kind of love. For standing with me on home plate at AT&T Park before a Giants’ game while I gave a speech about having type 1. It was his birthday, and he was the one who liked baseball, but he was selfless enough to give me the spotlight on his day. I love him for giving up extra attention from my parents without knowing it when he was a kid so that I could get extra attention because I needed an insulin shot or help counting carbs. I love him for loving and protecting me and our family fiercely, even though he does it quietly.

I love my sister Kate for looking up to me even though I sometimes feel damaged because of everything my body has to deal with and has been through. I love Kate for the speech she gave at Spring Fling (our family’s type 1 diabetes (T1D) charity event) about the night she thought I died while I was living in Paris. I love her for having the strength to share this scary story. We might be seven years apart but we have that special bond that only sisters can have, and I love her.

I love my brother Henry—just because. He was born after I was diagnosed and has never known anything else, and he has always accepted me as just his (awesome) older sister. I have messed up a lot, I’m the first to admit that, but Henry has stood by me and still somehow manages to love me despite everything.

I love my parents for more reasons than I can count. My mom, for knowing something wasn’t right back in November of 1998 and for diagnosing me herself from a little blue medical handbook when she recognized even the smallest symptoms. I love them for always supporting me. I love them for paying for my medical bills since, lord knows, I wouldn’t be able to cover it all myself, and for pushing to get me the best medical care and doctors. I love my dad for getting me one of the first Dexcoms available for under-18-year-olds, way back when the company first started. I love him for the work he does in trying to get me the best technology every day. I love them for starting Spring Fling for me and raising millions for diabetes research. I love my mom for starting a new non-profit for me and all the adults who need better resources. I love her for hiring me to work there.

I love them for the countless nights they have laid awake, worrying about me. For all the tears they have shed over me, for all the times my mom has woken up in the middle of the night to check my blood sugar. For all the times my mom had to cancel her plans to come help me, for all the times she was scared shitless but somehow held it together for me and for our family. For all the strength they show even though I know it is so incredibly hard. I love them both for reassuring me that I am never, nor will I ever be, alone in the fight for this disease. I feel so lucky to have a family that is 100 percent behind me no matter what.

Who else do I love?

I love my first grade teacher, Mrs. James, for visiting me in the hospital when I was diagnosed and bringing me my pinecone and feather turkey we had made in school but I hadn’t gotten to finish since I had to be taken to the hospital.

I love my eighth grade dance class, who stopped to take a moment to think of me and dedicate their final performance to me the day I couldn’t make it because I was in the hospital with a low blood sugar. (I had woken up with a low around 30 or 40, had been fully conscious, but could not speak or move well. My parents called an ambulance and we went to the hospital, where I sat mute, motionless and frustrated until about 2pm, when I started crying because I realized I had missed my performance.) I later learned my entire class had dedicated their performance to me, and that meant the absolute world to me at the time.

I love my college friend Jenna, who once mistakenly but sweetly offered to get me some hard boiled eggs for my low blood sugar. She knew nothing about carbs, clearly, but she tried, and I love that.

I love my friend Sara, who left class (no small deal at a school like Parsons, where attendance rules were more like hardcore laws) to come with me to the doctor when I had a severe low blood sugar the morning of our sophomore final semester presentation and always gave my mom peace of mind by letting her know how I was doing when I couldn’t.

I love my friend Michelle. She is the strongest person I know, fighting multiple chronic illnesses in addition to T1D. She provides me with strength in words and fills me with optimism and hope, even though we live in different countries on opposite coasts and have never met.

I love my pediatric endo, Dr. Gitleman. He put up with me during my years of terrible and stubborn teenage control, including occasionally made up blood sugar logs and rebellious phases where I just didn’t really feel like caring that my A1C was above 12. I love him for never giving up on me.

I love Beyond Type 1

I love this organization and all the people I have met because of it. I did not grow up with a strong online diabetes community, and didn’t recognized the power of community until I came to work at Beyond Type 1. The people I have met, stories I have heard and experiences I have had have literally been life-changing. There is a little girl in New York who I met through Beyond Type 1, and though we have never met in person, I have loved getting to know her and about her type 1. I love being able to connect with her and her mom, and knowing how much Beyond Type 1 and the community has helped them really makes me happier than anything. I have completely changed my perspective on my disease and what it is like to live with it, and have had a serious 180 in my diabetes care. Because of Beyond Type 1, I am inspired to take care of myself and live a long happy life thriving with and living beyond my disease. It may sound cheesy, but

I really do love Beyond Type 1 and this community.


WRITTEN BY Mary Lucas, POSTED 02/13/16, UPDATED 09/23/22

Mary was diagnosed with type 1 in 1998 at the age of 7, and despite having the disease for nearly 20 years, she still approaches each day with a smile and a sunny outlook. She attended Parsons the New School for Design in New York where she studied fashion design with a focus in children's wear. Now in her role leading influencer engagement, Mary loves connecting our ambassadors to our programs and efforts. She grew up around philanthropy and is passionate about living well with type 1 diabetes (T1D), finding a cure, growing Beyond Type 1, and her French Bulldog Lola! Check out more from Mary on her website and find her on instagram @MaryAlessandraa