Sweet as Sugar

Being a kid with type 1 diabetes is a lot tougher than not having cake and ice cream whenever you want. Imagine not being able to spend the night at a friend's house because an adult needs to monitor your glucose levels so that you won't have major health complications. Imagine pricking your finger several times a day to check your blood sugar levels. Imagine wearing a pump and a glucose monitor all day every day. What you are imagining is a day in the life of seven-year-old Jillian Rater. The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native recently took a trip with other children from 50 states and 7 countries to rally congress into supporting research and funding to fight type 1 diabetes. About 3 million Americans are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which means the body doesn't produce insulin, and it affects 3 million Americans and about 215,000 kids, according to the American Diabetes Association. As you may recall, the pancreas makes insulin, which regulates one's blood sugar. If the ol' panky's not working, then insulin must be monitored and injected to keep blood sugar from getting too high or too low. That's Jillian there with Crystal Bowersox, an American Idol finalist who also has type 1 diabetes, and Representative Steve King of Iowa. We love that Jillian included her favorite pancreas pal, named "Panky," in her photos. We're rooting for you, Jillian, and the hundreds of thousands of gutsy kids who are our heroes every day. Let's hope the gut-wrenching tales from all these cute kids testifying at the Capitol will help sweeten the deal for projects in the works such as the artificial pancreas.

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