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November: National Diabetes Awareness Month

Student Author: Maddie H.

The first known mention of Diabetes dates back to 1552 B.C., where it was then discovered by Hesy-Ra, an Egyptian physician. Diabetes has been known to the public for thousands of years, but are we actually aware of the effects Diabetes has on someone, both physically and emotionally?

Putnam County R1 Schools are forever grateful for such an important advocate concerning Diabetes, Mrs. Danyel Fitzpatrick. Danyel found out the unwelcomed news when she was just 12 years old while getting something as simple as a sports physical. After a doctor's appointment or two, Danyel got confirmation that she was in fact Type 1 Diabetic. “I was really angry over it, always saying, 'Why me, why me?' I even got angry at the nurses,” she said. Danyel’s family has a history of Diabetes, so when she got the news, her family knew exactly the right course of action. They were really great at hiding any fear they had, which then made it easier on Danyel emotionally. Danyel’s father is diabetic and she knew that he definitely had guilty feelings about it and he felt like it was his fault. When it came to telling her friends, Danyel didn’t try to hide her condition. She says that they were almost more worried than she was. She heard them saying supportive things like if she should eat the cake at a birthday party. The greatest part of Danyel's diagnosis is that she did not once use this condition as an excuse. Proving everyone wrong about what she couldn’t do was her main goal.

Having a family history of Diabetes helped her tremendously when it came to concerns and questions. She saw what would happen if you didn’t eat a snack or if you didn’t check your blood sugar. Seeing that side of everything made it so much easier to make the choice of not whining and getting up day after day and choosing to take the best care of herself. That is the prime definition of a strong person, and for Danyel, she easily exceeds that definition.

When asked if being diagnosed was harder on herself and her loved ones emotionally or financially, she proceeded to say that while it did take a huge toll on everyone emotionally, diabetes was harder financially. The amount of expenses that comes along with being diabetic is outrageous. That outrageous number was then doubled because there were now two people with Diabetes in her household, the other being her father. Millions with conditions just like Danyel's, are put more and more into debt every day because of different conditions. We shouldn’t have to be broke just so that we can stay alive. Something needs to change and awareness is the perfect starting point.

The greatest thing Danyel is giving to the world is knowledge and raising awareness. That’s exactly what she does day to day. She teaches those who do not know, and are curious to know. Whether it’s how to save for college or just exactly what it’s like to be diabetic. Teaching is her superpower on spreading awareness. There are many negative things that Danyel and her family have to go through, but they don’t let those get them down. The strongest people are those with the biggest smiles.

Awareness is the education we need. I’m starting small with this article. With help and a little education, we can all bring different conditions such as Diabetes to light. I am so thankful to know Danyel Fitzpatrick. She is truly a remarkable woman.


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