Until there’s a cure: GRC student helps others to manage Type 1 diabetes

For Lauren Palmer, a junior at George Rogers Clark High School, the struggle against Type 1 Diabetes is personal.

Palmer was diagnosed with the disease when she was in the fifth grade and said it was — and still is — a life-changing experience.

“Every hour I need to check my blood sugar,” she said. “If it’s too low, I need to eat something. If it’s too high, I need to take insulin. I also have to pay attention to the fluctuations.”

When Palmer, who is very active with the Kentucky YMCA, decided to take part in a service trip with the organization that required participants to log 50 hours of community service, she knew that helping other Type 1 students was what she wanted to do.

“When I was diagnosed I didn’t know anyone else who was going through the same thing,” she said.

Palmer put together 10 baskets as part of her community service — each one for a different elementary or middle school student in Clark County who suffers from Type 1 Diabetes.

The baskets contained sugar-free gum, candy and glucose tablets in addition to activity books, bracelets and a T-shirt.

Palmer also included a letter to each student with a list of “pro tips” for living with Diabetes.

This isn’t the first time Palmer has gone out of her way to assist people in the Type 1 community. She said she works as a counselor at a camp for diabetic children in Ohio as well, a service she says has been “one of the best things in my life.”

 She and her parents are also active with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a global organization dedicated to funding Type 1 Diabetes research.

Palmer said she intends to do the basket project again next year when she takes part in the same service trip through the YMCA. She said her work to spread awareness about Type 1 Diabetes will continue in other ways as well, including possibly her career.

She said that during her time in high school she has taken up an interest in biology, through a combination of curiosity about her diagnosis and an engaging class taught by Amy Walker.

“I’m thinking about being a school nurse or going into teaching,” she said. “Those jobs would allow me to work with kids who have diabetes.”

She said her goal in spreading awareness is to teach the public that there is a difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes and to tell children with Diabetes that they do not need to be embarrassed by their diagnoses.