A 12-year-old from West Henrietta was recently selected for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Children’s Congress. Luke Athoe was chosen from more than 1-thousand applicants. He talked with News 8 about how he’s trying to help others with type 1 diabetes.
Luke Athoe doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t have type 1 diabetes. It’s an autoimmune disease otherwise known as juvenile diabetes. The pancreas produces little or no insulin, a necessary hormone that allows sugar to enter cells. Luke has to give himself daily insulin injections. Athoe says, ” I’ve had it since I was 14 months old. I got my insulin pump at 4 years old.” His Mom, Jennifer Athoe adds, “He has to poke and prod himself with needles every single day. He has to be constantly aware of what he’s doing. How every single decision that he makes impacts his blood sugar level.”
There’s no time off from diabetes. Blood sugar levels can reach dangerously high or low levels. Athoe is well aware of the dangers and says, “It’s been a struggle like I’ve had to put sites in and basically you use a needle or do that every day. I have to do 2 finger pricks or I test my blood sugar.”
He says he tries not to let his condition interfere with life but that’s not easy. “I currently play football, lacrosse, and wrestling. Sometimes when my blood sugar goes low I have to sit out,” Athoe explains.
He will be advocating for more funding to support research, treatment and better insurance coverage when he heads to Washington for what he calls, “a once in a lifetime thing.” Athoe says he’ll continue to spread awareness and hopes to make a difference and maybe one day help find a cure for type one diabetes.
For more information on JDRF Children’s Congress, visit http://cc.jdrf.org/