Dublin H.S. Student Wants To Teach Others About Type 1 Diabetes At Columbus Marathon


UPDATED: Thursday October 18, 2012 8:00 AM

While 18,000 runners and walkers will take to the street for the Columbus Marathon, 26 patient champions will be cheering them on.

One champion is Dublin Jerome High School student Grayson Willson.

Walking through the halls of her school, Willson blends in with the rest of the teenagers. However, Willson is not like every other student.

"I have an insulin pump right now," Willson said.

At 13-years-old, Willson was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

"There's all kinds of consequences," Willson said. "Immediately when I have low blood sugar, I'm shaking and I'm out of it. When I have high blood sugar, I'm sick and lethargic."

Willson's condition is a disease that affects approximately 3 million Americans. There is no known cure, yet.

That is why Willson chose to share her story at this weekend's Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon. She will be one of 26 patient champions decorating a miracle mile.

"My biggest thing is education," Willson said. "No one really knows about Type 1. When I say I'm a diabetic, they say, 'Oh, you just have to work out and lose weight.' That's not it at all."

Unlike Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease. It can cause kidney failure, blindness and result in amputation.

"I have to count my carbs," Willson said. "Every lunch I have to go to the nurse and tell her what I'm eating and how much insulin I'm taking."

Daily checkups that for teenagers can be tedious, but, for this bright student, it has become a mission to educate others and to one day find a cure.

Grayson said that there are three diabetics just in her class. She said that she would be decorating mile 10 in a "candy land" theme to show life can still be good for those battling Type 1 diabetes.

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