Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes close to her 4th birthday, Lorena Bergstrom is a bright (above 4.0 GPA bright), talented (plays multiple instruments very well), and honest representative of the T1D community. As an incoming student at the University of California, Berkeley, Lorena writes articles for her local JDRF chapter and holds an interest in biotechnology. Along with her incredible achievements, Lorena stood out for her willingness to try new things in her care...something that can be difficult for someone who has had T1D for 50 days or 50 years. Here are some of Lorena's insights from her Every Step Counts Scholarship application. Thank you, Lorena, and congratulations!
With all the negative news headlines that inundate our day-to-day lives (think iPhone notifications, newspapers, radio, TV...the works), it's easy to forget the goodness of humanity. At this point, you may be laughing. Understandable. But it's out there. Really. Everywhere we go.
Inspiration to the T1D community and friend of the ESC Scholarship Program, Annalisa van den Bergh, has found this to be especially true on her thousand-mile bike journeys across America. She has the stories and friendships to prove it. Now, she's sharing it with others.
Diagnosed with T1D at the age of 13, Aidan Fernandez is about as well rounded as they come. Now 18, Aidan is graduating from Duncan U. Fletcher High School with above a 4.0 GPA. While maintaining his grades, he has lead the varsity baseball team, served as a counselor at the American Diabetes Association’s Camp JADA, coached youth sports, tutored students in math, and worked at the YMCA. Oh, did we mention he’s bilingual?
In short, Aidan is a force. He is an invaluable representative of the type 1 community and will undoubtedly add a great deal to the University of Florida, where he aspires to major in biomedical engineering...and one day become a pediatric endocrinologist.
Here, we share some of Aidan’s insights from his Every Step Counts Application. Congratulations, Aidan!
Erik and I only did one true training ride before cycling across the country on Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica Trail. Around this time a year ago, we hopped on the Metro-North with a few friends from our type 1 diabetes Meetup group and headed to Peekskill, New York...
...Both of our blood sugars kept dropping and it seemed no amount of granola bars and gummy bears would keep our numbers stable.
You get it.
There was no way of testing blood sugar at home, so we tested my urine instead. A special procedure involving a test tube with a solution containing drops of my urine was boiled on our stove. The solution changed color, and that gave some indication of how much sugar was in my urine. Each morning my urine was tested, and there was an injection of the animal insulin...
...In the mid 1980s I bought my first glucose meter. It had been 40 years before I was able to finally test my own blood sugar. I saw very high blood sugar almost every time I tested with the meter. Numbers in the 200s and low 300s were frequently seen, and there was no fast-acting insulin to correct those highs.
A1c tests were first available in 1976, and my doctor had my first A1c test done in 1980. It think it was a 12%. In 1988, I found a magazine article about carbohydrates, and I started reading labels on products. I began limiting the number of carbs I ate, and my meter started showing lower blood sugars. My A1c's improved. In the mid 1990s I started basal and bolus insulins. By the end of that decade my A1c's were in the high 5's and low 6's...
I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. People told me all along the way that I’d figure it out. In high school, in my undergraduate studies, and then again after I entered the “real world”. I’ve spent my days surrounded by the inspired. My brother is a political junky. He’s always wanted to be involved in public policy and knew from an early age that’s what he wanted to do. It drives him. My wife is an ASL interpreter. She found in her teen years she wanted to help the Deaf bridge the gap in communication. She’s immersed herself in the community, she even interprets for people who are both deaf and blind. She’s one of the top in her field. I’m so very proud of these people. They are successful, hard working, and driven. If I’m honest with myself, I’m also extremely jealous of these people. Not because of their success, or pay, or anything materialistic or tangible. I’m jealous because they’ve found their “WHY”.