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10-year-old Washington Elementary student takes up fight against Type 1 diabetes

April 13th, 2014 8:29 pm by Rick Wagner

10-year-old Washington Elementary student takes up fight against Type 1 diabetes

Emma Barlett, left, and Christine Cloninger, center, a representative from the Knoxville branch of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, talk with Washington Elementary School students on Friday. Photo by David Grace.

KINGSPORT — After more than 22,000 finger sticks and some 5,000 insulin injections, 10-year-old Emma Barlett simply looks forward to the day she can throw away her glucose meter, finger sticker and insulin supplies.

Emma, a student at Washington Elementary School in Kingsport, shared her story during assemblies at her school Friday in support of fundraising to find a cure for the juvenile diabetes she's had since age 4.

Students at the school will be putting donors' names on paper sneakers in exchange for donations of family and friends, leading up to a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation walk at the school May 15. A community fundraising walk is set the following Sunday, 1:30 p.m., May 18, at Warriors Path State Park.

"My life looks pretty normal," Emma told fellow fourth-graders during one of six assemblies on Type 1 diabetes Friday at Washington. "I don't look sick."

But in the past six years, her blood sugars have ranged from a low of 31 to a high of 600, compared to the normal range of 80 to 100, and her level — checked live before the students Friday morning — of 115 about 11:15 a.m.

She also showed the students her "site," the area where the insulin pump injects her on her stomach. It must be changed every three days.

About 80 people each day, children and adults, are diagnosed with juvenile or Type 1 diabetes in which the pancreas for some reason stops making insulin. About 3 million Americans have the condition.

For an expanded version of this article, please see Monday's print edition or our expanded electronic edition.

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