Kids with type 1 diabetes are among the estimated 200,000 young people living with the disease in the United States. Each year, roughly 40,000 people are newly diagnosed with the disease. A diagnosis is challenging, especially for kids with type 1, but many are thriving and living inspirational lives.
Diabetes Self-Management and JDRF have a shared vision: to promote the advancement of type 1 diabetes research by spotlighting the dedicated type 1 diabetes champions from across the U.S. In this series, we asked some young patients about friends, new tech, friends, advice and more.
Chandler Edwards, 11, White Plains, New York
I was 3 years old when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. My journey has been challenging with many ups and downs. My days consist of checking blood sugars, carb counting and administering insulin. Although it’s difficult, I will not allow this disease to stop me from doing the things I like to do or from achieving my dreams.
What is the hardest part about managing type 1 diabetes? And how do you turn these challenges into positives?
The hardest part of managing type 1 diabetes is the constant monitoring, finger sticks and shots. At school, I visit the nurse throughout the day to check my blood sugar and this sometimes causes me to miss eating lunch with my friends. My activities and sleep are also interrupted for monitoring. However, having to monitor myself has taught me to be responsible and I have even matured a little.
How did you become involved with the JDRF?
We became involved with JDRF after my mother and I attended the Type-One Nation Summit from a referral. We then decided to attend the JDRF walk to get an idea of what it was like. We were so amazed by all the attendees and activities that we started our own team – Team Chandler – the following year and we have been walking and raising money every year.
What have you found to be the most useful diabetes technology?
The insulin pump and the sensor have been the most useful devices. They have made managing my type 1 diabetesmuch easier.
How do your friends and family support you?
My family and friends are always looking out for my best interest. They make sure I check my sugar and that I eat the right things. My teachers and friends at school help me and make me smile when I am having a bad day.
What are some of your favorite activities?
My favorite activities are listening to music, playing the drums, drama and basketball (My favorite player is Steph Curry).
What advice would you give to someone your age who is newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
The advice that I would give to someone my age that is newly diagnosed would be to hang in there. It is difficult especially in the beginning having to deal with the needles sticks and not being able to eat the things you like. With time, the journey gets easier. Never allow type 1 diabetes to prevent you from doing the things you like to do or being what you desire to be. Also get involved with JDRF. You will meet others who will assist and encourage you.
Want to learn more about caring for a child with type 1 diabetes? Read “Top 10 Tips for Better Blood Glucose Control,” “Writing a Section 504 Plan for Diabetes” and “Be Aware of Hypoglycemia Unawareness.”