Teens Dealing with Diabetes

Reporter: Shannon Samson

The American Diabetes Asociation and the local Joslin Dabetes Center are in the business of helping parents and children manage juvenile diabetes. Both organizations are hosting a family diabetes day so kids can learn from their peers some tips on keeping their blood sugar in check.

When the referendum didn't pass last year, the Evansville Vanderburgh County School Corporation had to cut down most of its nursing staff to part time. So it's more important than ever that students who have diabetes can manage the disease on their own.

Bosse High School sophomore Amanda McMillian has been living with diabetes since she was eleven. At the time, all the signs were there, dramatic weight loss and excessive thirst and urination. Still, the diagnosis came as a shock. Amanda says, "I was like 'oh my gosh, I'm not going to be able to do anything'."

Teresa McMillian, Amanda's mom says, "When you say it to yourself and you realize that they have it, and it's never gettin' fixed, that's the hardest part." Teresa quickly realized that life as they all knew it was about to change dramatically. There would be serious consequences if Amanda's wasn't vigilant about checking her blood sugar levels. "Until you see somebody get low, and get disoriented and total incoherent, you don't realize the magnitude of what this disease is."

Amanda doesn't go anywhere unprepared. Diabetes educators say kids usually know what to do. It's just that they get tired of doing it. Julie Shutt with the American Diabetes Association says, "I'ts a fine line between educating them and keeping them compliant, and giving them so much niformation that you scare them. So, we try to bring good role models on board."

Amanda is going to be one of the guest speakers at Family Diabetes Day, hoping other kids will learn by her example.

Family Diabetes Day is Saturday, November 13 at St. Mary's Medical Center in Evansville, from 9am-12pm CST. Featured topics include "Taking diabetes to school" and "Snacks at home and school." Registration is five dollars per family. Call the American Diabetes Association at 812-476-6949 for more information.