Living With Diabetes

Blood tests and insulin four times a day, that's not the childhood most of us remember. But for thousands of American children living with diabetes, it's reality. One East Texas teen that cannot remember life before diabetes.

Jonathan Flanders an active 17 year old, was first diagnosed with diabetes when he was two years old. His parents were shocked to find out their son was diabetic. Jennifer Flanders, Jonathan's Mother, "We knew he had been sick and knew that his symptoms were characteristics of diabetes but we never dreamed it was diabetes." Jonathan Flanders, 17 year old Diabetic says, "When I was younger and I first got diagnosed I remember screaming and just hating the shots and blood tests. I think I was about 7 when I started first testing and understanding what is going on. I met another girl that was about my age and had diabetes and she was giving her own shot, so I said mom if she can do it, I'm not going to let some girl do it if I can't."

That's right at the age of 7, Jonathan was testing his own blood sugar and giving himself insulin injections. Today, he has to test four times a day and give himself four shots a day. Jonathan says, "I don't know any different, since I was two, I hardly remember a life without diabetes, so it really hasn't had an affect on the way I've grown up I've been use to it, it's not something I had to make a big adjustment."

Jonathan does look forward to the day that there is a cure. He hopes it's sooner than later, not just for his sake but for all the other people that haven't grown up with the disease and for the people that are just being diagnosed. He says he has been blessed with good health even with his diabetes. And it hasn't held him back for his hobby of mountain biking. Jonathan is just one of more than 18 million Americans who have diabetes.

To support the American Diabetes Association, they're having their annual walk on Saturday, November 4, 2005 at Bergfeld Park in Tyler. Registration begins at 8 a-m and the walk starts at 9 a-m.