Maddie Kuhn, 19
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the third grade, Madeleine "Maddie" Kuhn doesn't let the disease inhibit her. The American University sophomore belongs to a sorority, plays doubles on the tennis team, co-produces a popular campus TV talk show, does public relations for an environmental group, helps her local Model United Nations chapter–and keeps up with her courses.
Diabetes is not something that should get you down, although it is hard when you're a kid.
My parents, both doctors, saw the signs and admitted me for early treatment and training in managing the disease. I thought I'd just get better. But after two weeks of injecting myself with insulin, I didn't want to do it any more.
You never grow out of diabetes. Insulin pumps make it easier. But you can't anticipate what your body's going to do, so you have to constantly monitor. The more you monitor, the easier it gets. If my blood sugar goes low in class, for instance, I have to snack even though it still embarrasses me a little.
Diabetes becomes a part of you. If they find a cure, who would I be without it?
Diabetes makes me a strong person. There are times when you want to chuck it all. But Diabetes has instant consequences. You learn to be responsible pretty quickly, or else.
My advice for others with diabetes is to be aware of their condition; to see it as a part of life than can help to make you stronger. There are also opportunities with diabetes, so be aware and take advantage of them.