By Annie Dockery, The Belton Journal
Alyssa Shriner, Belton New Tech freshman, discovered that she is a Type 1 diabetic when she was 12 years old. To bring awareness of diabetes to her Belton New Tech classmates she along with school nurse Christie Crim hosted a month-long campaign to educate the students and faculty of the disease, which does not have a cure.
“November is National Diabetes Awareness Month,” Shriner said, “and I wanted to educate some people about it and I even got everyone to wear blue on Fridays for support of the cause.”
In her effort to promote diabetes awareness at the school, Shriner made posters to be hung throughout the school.
“I know a lot of kids have Type 1 diabetes so I want people to know that anybody can get it and there is not a cure and even though you have it nothing can stop you,” Shriner said.
Shriner and Crim made a plan of how they were going to raise awareness and health promotion at New Tech during the month of November.
Crim, said, “We are collectively as a campus doing a lot of health promotion and health awareness in regards to increasing awareness towards diabetes. One thing led to another and we started being more creative; we called McLane’s Scott & White and a Nurse Diabetes Educator came out to talk with our students. Shriner did her posters and we got the teachers involved and they used the diabetes screening tools in their curriculum. We also did the healthy lunch on National Healthy Lunch Day. The staff and all the students were very supportive.”
Scott & White McLane’s Diabetes Nurse Diabetes Educator, Brant Foster visited the campus and spoke to the biology class.
Foster said, “We did this today for diabetes awareness. I I spoke about what the basic functions of diabetes are and the kids came up with some outstanding questions and let me go on a little past time. They were asking some advanced things.”
At the age of 12, Shriner found out she had diabetes when her mother took her to the doctor thinking that she had the flu.
“I lost a lot of weight, I was thrisy and I had to pee a lot …. they checked my sugar and it was way up there. Then I had to stay in the hospital for a week,” Shriner said. Shriner has to be aware of everything that she eats.
“When I wake up, I check my sugar; if it’s high I put it in here (pointing to her pump) and then I eat breakfast and I have to count the amount of carbs I have in my meal and I put it in here,” she said. Shrinier wears an insulin pump so that she will not have to give herself shots. The pump delivers insulin to her via tubing that goes directly into her stomach.
“People ask if it is a pager or an ipod. People don’t know what it is. I like [the pump] better than having multiple shots everytime I eat. It’s a easier and simplier but sometimes it’s kinda bulky,” Shriner said.
Despite having diabetes, Shriner is able to everything that others her age are able to do.
She said, “I can do anything, anything and everything. I don’t let this stop me. If I want to go somewhere I just go and calculate for it (food wise).”
After high school, Shriner plans to study to be a nurse.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website, Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal. Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose, or sugar, for our bodies to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin to help glucose get into the cells of our bodies. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should. This causes sugar to build up in your blood.
Diabetes.org says that about 208,000 Americans under age 20 are estimated to have diagnosed with diabetes.
For more information visit www.diabetes.org