Diabuddy program helping kids navigate school with Type 1 diabetes

Local News

It’s Diabetes Awareness Month, and according to the American Diabetes Association, nearly 187,000 children have Type 1 diabetes in the U.S.

KX learned how some students at Lewis and Clark Elementary are turning their diagnoses into friendships.

The diabuddy program is giving kids an opportunity to navigate through their daily lives at school with someone who is experiencing the same thing they are.

Like first graders Evelynn Tomlinson and Harper White Buffalo, who have not only helped each other but also have built a friendship.

“There would be a beeping noise going on,” said White Buffalo.
“Where would that beeping noise come from?”
“Her phone,” answered White Buffalo and Tomlinson.

“If it’s high she has to drink water, but if it’s low she has to go to the nurse’s station,” explained Tomlinson.

The kids are paired up with someone in their class that is also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Third graders Makenzie Eisenmann and Hunter Gertz say going through the journey together feels good because not everyone gets it.

“One thing they don’t know is what we feel when we’re low and high. Like our body goes through more stuff than their body ever go,” explained Gertz.

“It feels better that I’m not the only diabetic in the class so it doesn’t feel awkward,” said Eisenmann.

Family liaison Tricia Johnson serves as a mentor to the kids, as she knows first hand what it’s like to live with Type 1 diabetes.

“To me, I look at it as an inclusion thing. When I was a kid I wish I would’ve had a diabuddy in my classroom because I think some of the biggest struggles were no one understood it. And they said it, people ask a million questions. And you’re constantly answering them, which is totally fine,” shared Johnson.

Johnson says the diabuddy program not only gives relief to those kids going through Type 1 diabetes but also to the parents worried about them.

Three of the 4 kids were all diagnosed within the last six months with the autoimmune disorder.

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