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Raising Awareness About Juvenile Diabetes

January 21, 2013, 6:06 PM by Peggy Moyer

Raising Awareness About Juvenile Diabetes

A KELOLAND teenager says her life changed forever the day she was diagnosed with diabetes.  

Emily Phelps went to the hospital because she thought she had the flu. A few days later, she left with a diagnosis that would impact the rest of her life.

"When I was diagnosed, I was at that age where I was just starting to get freedom from my parents, you know. I liked it. And afterwards, it was kind of taken away for a while because we didn't know what to expect. We didn't know what was going to happen and I really can't do anything without thinking about it now," Emily said.

Emily doesn't go anywhere without her pump. Once an hour, it automatically gives the high school freshman a small dose of insulin to keep her blood-sugar level in balance. But any time she eats something, or does something active, Emily needs to re-check her levels and give herself the appropriate amount of insulin to counter act it.

"It was kind of a lot at first because I didn't know what I was doing," Phelps said.

In addition to checking her blood-sugar level in the middle of the night, Emily also has to carry a supply of diabetes essentials with her 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

Not only has it changed Emily's life, her teachers also need to be trained on how to give her a shot if her blood-sugar drops so low that she becomes unconscious.

Emily's mom, Tracie Phelps, is proud of how well her daughter is managing the disease, but it prompted her to become more involved in raising money to find a cure.

"It's frustrating at times just because there are so many things that she has to deal with that she never had to deal with before. But it also makes me very proud because she does a great job dealing with it," Tracie said.

"I think it would be really cool if we can find a cure for it, not just for me but for anyone who has had to deal with it whether they're kids or adults because I know what it's like to have it, and it's no fun," Emily said.

This weekend is South Dakota's Walk for the Cure.  If you're not able to participate in person, you can be a virtual walker where you make an online donation to the cause without leaving your home. Just visit the JDRF website.

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