By Libby Smith
AURORA, Colo (CBS4) – In Colorado, 410,312 people are living with diabetes. Another 1.3 million are at risk of developing the disease. One student is working toward the day there is a cure for diabetes.
D.J. Smith is an active 12-year old. He’s been playing lacrosse since he was eligible at age 6.
“I’ve always loved lacrosse. I’d love to play professionally. I love to watch all the games,” Smith told CBS4.
He started playing before he was diagnosed with Type 1. D.J. still plays, but now he carefully tracks his blood sugar levels and insulin intake.
“This is basically my pancreas here,“ he said of the insulin pump that’s attached to his waist.
Smith uses a pump to regulate his insulin and takes breaks when he feels his sugar levels drop. He’s not shy about his diagnosis.
“I want people to know that I’m a diabetic. I’m different. I don’t care,” Smith explained.
What he does care about is finding a cure. He has big plans for that day.
“The first thing I’m going to do when I’m a non-diabetic is go to Wyoming, buy a bunch of fireworks, and I’m just going to blow up my entire kit,” Smith said.
His kit includes a glucose meter, test strips, needles, insulin, everything a diabetic has to carry every minute of every day. Smith is working for a cure by raising money for Tour de Cure, the American Diabetes Association’s bike, run, and walk fundraising event.
“I’m doing the 50K, which is 35 miles. And all my friends look at me and they’re like, ‘Huh?’ and I’m like ‘Yeah,’” Smith said.
Smith is taking his fundraising efforts seriously. He has a goal of $4,000 and even went out to his neighborhood King Soopers to solicit donations. He was wearing his Red Rider jersey, which is a special jersey that people with diabetes wear during ADA events. Smith will wear the jersey for his 50K ride, but he’s positive he won’t be wearing it forever.
“I can’t wait until that day when I can go to Wyoming and blow up my kit. I can’t wait for that day,” he said.
The American Diabetes Association of Colorado is hosting Tour De Cure on Saturday, Sept. 24 at Salisbury Park in Parker. This year’s event features 20K, 50K, 100K, 100 mile bike rides; 5K run; and a 5K walk, plus a family-fun festival at the park.
LINK: Sign Up for Tour de Cure
Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.