Three local families spoke to Seward Rotary about living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) as part of Diabetes Awareness Month
“A Type 1 Diabetes Primer” was the theme of the Seward Rotary Club program on Wednesday, November 25th at noon at the Seward Civic Center during the weekly luncheon meeting.  The program was introduced by Rotarian of the Month and Program Co-Chair Kurth Brashear.  He introduced three families who shared their journeys with living with Type 1 Diabetes.
The featured families included Lily Brashear and her mother - Jessica Brashear, Hannah Helmer and her father-Joel Helmer and Oskar Huntington and his father - Dr. Tim Huntington-all of Seward.
Kurth Brasher, the father of Lily Brashear, shared information on knowing the difference between Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.  Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune diseases with potential ties to genetic and environmental factors. People with T1D cannot produce Insulin.  It cannot currently be prevented nor can it be cured.  Type 1 Diabetes requires insulin through multiple daily injections or infusion through insulin pump.  Counting carbohydrates in food and regular physical exercise are important in T1D management.   There are 1.6 million Americans diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. 
Type 2 Diabetes is tied to metabolism and genetic susceptibility.  People with T2D are insulin resistant.  It can be prevented or managed through diet and exercise.  Treatment varies on an individual basis, often beginning with dietary modifications, exercise and oral medicines.  Some individuals with T2D take insulin shots.  Reducing carbohydrate intake and regular physical exercise are important in T2D management.  There are 30-33 million Americans diagnosed with T2D. 
Diabetes causes kidney, eye cardiovascular and nerve diseases.  Complications are not inevitable, with tight blood sugar control as the only method demonstrate to reduce the risk of developing complications. 
Brashear introduced Dr. Tim Huntington of Concordia University and his son Oskar-a Fourth Grader at St. John Lutheran School.  Dr. Huntington shared his personal story of dealing with Type 1 Diabetes since he was diagnosed as a Concordia University Student.  He pointed out that “everything affects blood sugar” in dealing with Diabetes. His son Oskar was diagnosed with T1D at the age of three and he shared his go to bag of items –sharing his contests of bag.  They pointed out that most are diagnosed between the ages of 5-14.  Both are currently on insulin pumps and very healthy and active.
Seward High Senior Hannah Helmer addressed the members of the Seward Rotary Club on her journey of living with Type 1 Diabetes and she shared the podium with her father, Dr. Joel Helmer of Concordia University, who commented on the experiences of the parents coping with diabetes.  Hanna shared that she was diagnosed with T1D at the age of ten and has learned to live with the disease. She commented on the ‘lows and highs’ resulting with the disease.   “It is life changing,” she commented “but it has not slowed me down, as I am very involved in school and active in a variety of activities.”  Dr. Helmer noted that “A positive of this disease is that Hannah has become very responsible, mature and flexible.  Type 1 Diabetes has not slowed Hannah down at all and she even gave an informative speech on Diabetes last year.  She is always prepared, with ten different purses ready to go with her Diabetes materials in each bag!  She is currently on an insulin pump and found it to offer wonderful flexibility.”
The final family presentation featured Lily Brashear-a St. John Lutheran School in Seward Seventh grader and her mother Jessica- a youth counselor at St. John Lutheran School. Jessica shared the story of Lily’s recent T1D diagnosis and shared their family’s story of dealing with a child that has the T1D diagnosis.  Lily shared her experiences with the Rotary Club membership and showed her “go to bag” that she carries to assist her in controlling her disease.  She commented on the side effects as a result of diabetes –such as mood swings and being tired.  Jessica pointed out that Lily has given herself shots since the first day of discovering that she has T1D and also stressed the importance of knowing the blood sugar levels.  Lily shared that she is on an insulin pump and showed her pump on her arm which she has decorated. Having an insulin pump has created another learning curve.  They both thanked the Huntington and Helmer families that came to their assistance when Lily was first diagnosed with Diabetes. Jessica thanked the local families who have been most supportive and shared their firsthand knowledge and hints in coping with this disease. 
Questions and answers followed.  They shared printed information on the both T1D and T2D.
Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic health conditions in the USA-both T1D and T2D.  For more information on T1D visit