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Woman Beats Odds, Lives With Type 1 Diabetes For 50 Years

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Pat McAlister (credit: CBS)

Pat McAlister (credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – CBS4 is proud to sponsor the Diabetes EXPO. The free event is this Saturday at the Colorado Convention Center.

One of the American Diabetes Association’s first volunteers shared her story of beating the odds with Type 1 diabetes with CBS4.

“They sent me every place,” Pat McAlister said.

Growing up in rural Montana, doctors had no idea why McAlister had an unquenchable thirst.

“So I lived on Coke floats, which of course was the worst thing that I could do,” she said.

When she turned 11, doctors finally figured out McAlister was diabetic — the only one in her small town.

“I read in a magazine that a diabetic’s life span was 25 years.”

But time after time, she kept proving people wrong.

“No, you can’t be a teacher, because a teacher stands on her feet all day.”

McAlister became a teacher and got married.

“They also said I would never have a baby.”

Now she has two children, and a granddaughter.

“I’ve been blessed with everything I ever wanted.”

Including a membership in an exclusive club — 50 years as a diabetic.

“Now when I can see parents with a diabetic child and say, ‘I’ve been a diabetic for 64 years,’ a lot of them start crying.”

Her longevity is so rare she’s taking part in a study to try and figure out why she’s lived so well, for so long. Two men in the study have had diabetes for 80 years.

“I give a lot of people a lot of hope, but they give me a lot of hope … if you understand what your body can take, you are going to live a super healthy wonderful life.”

McAlister has been a volunteer for decades with the American Diabetes Association. She will be selling jewelry to raise money at the Diabetes EXPO this Saturday. The expo runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Colorado Convention Center. Hear speakers talk about diabetes prevention, watch healthy cooking demos, and much more. The expo is free.

LINK: Diabetes EXPO

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