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 sugar 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.
Andrew Warnsley, 11, Morton, Mississippi
How old were you when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
I was 8 years old and had just entered third grade when I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I started having really bad headaches, I was nauseous all the time, I was constantly tired, losing weight and my hair was falling out. My parents decided to take me to the doctor for all of these symptoms and my blood sugar was way over 400. I spent a week in Blair Batson, our state’s children’s hospital. Since then I have learned to manage my blood sugar through insulin usage and my diet. This has not been easy, but with the help of JDRF, my team of doctors, and my family I am tackling the challenge.
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 random blood sugar spikes and worrying about insulin refills and supplies due to the consistent rise in prices. We combat these by trying to eat healthier and checking my blood sugar often and consistently. I turn these obstacles into positives by participating in organizations like JDRF that raises money for research, brings attention to high insulin costs and the burden that it supplies for diabetics and their families, and helps to fund legislation that will fight the rising costs of insulin prices.
How did you become involved with the JDRF?
While I was in the hospital, after learning I had diabetes, JDRF reached out to me and my family to help us navigate this journey. They helped educate us about insulin pumps and CGM devices. Through these services we learned about the annual fundraisers and were eager to help.
Any JDRF community service projects or initiatives?
We raise money through our local churches and community each year for our local OneWalk in Flowood, Mississippi. Our walk team’s name is Andrew’s Annihilators.
How do your friends and family support you?
My family and friends always remind me to check my blood sugar, keep my devices charged, and they are always very supportive of my OneWalk fundraiser.
What are some of your favorite activities?
I love swimming, playing basketball, playing Fortnite, and hanging out with my friends.
What is your favorite diabetes-friendly meal and why?
My favorite diabetes friendly meal has to be venison because meat is very low in carbs and I love hunting.
What advice would you give to someone your age who is newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
Listen to your parents’ advice. It’s important to learn to count your carbs for yourself, and never blame yourself for what you are going through.
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.”