Recently we asked our Facebook community to tell us about people who have lived long and well with diabetes – people who have lived 20, 30 or even 40 years or more with the disease. Having received a lot of great responses, we’re privileged to present these favorites on the blog this week. We’re hope you’re as inspired by these personal stories as we are!
Name: Randall Barker
Age: 34 (diagnosed at 10)
Location: Iowa Park, Texas
I have had type 1 diabetes for over 24 years. I also have a daughter with type 1 who was diagnosed two years ago.
I live two hours from the American Diabetes Association office in Dallas, but I volunteer to bring awareness to my area in any way possible. I became involved with the Association in 2013. I was introduced to an associate in the office through a friend.
With help from the Dallas office, I helped organize several School Walks at my daughter’s school and even a Community Walk we named the “Stop Diabetes 5K.” I also helped get my community to issue a proclamation for American Diabetes Month in November 2014. I also serve on the Dallas World Diabetes Day Committee.
Diabetes care and technology have greatly improved since I was diagnosed. One example is just the way medication is dispensed: I started on multiple injections per day and now I wear an insulin pump with a CGM system. Another example would be the advancement of glucose monitoring. I recall my first blood glucose meter taking three to four minutes for a test result. Now they give results in five seconds!
Many things motivate me to live well with diabetes, the first being my mother. I was in DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) at least 10 times during my first year with diabetes, once in a coma for three to four days. I recall one time, seeing my mother break down emotionally. She didn’t see me observe this, but that motivated me to try and do the best I could to become as healthy as possible.
My other motivation is my daughter. I want her to see by my example that diabetes cannot and will not hold her back from doing anything she puts her mind to.
If you want to support the cause, get involved! Even the smallest steps can help raise awareness of diabetes. The general public has no idea some of the statistics associated with the disease. The more people that become involved, the more this information becomes general knowledge. With that knowledge, lives can be saved, barriers can be erased and eventually a cure will be found.
Don’t be ashamed of diabetes and don’t be afraid to reveal that you have it. Reach out to other people with diabetes out there. There are people that have “traveled” down the same road and can share their experiences. Don’t go at it alone.