Diabetic teen helping to fund research as JDRF Ambassador
DENVER — Like most teenagers Jalen Waters loves to hang out with his family and play some ball.
He also spends lots of time working on this massive Lego city. He wants to be an architect or urban planner one day.
It’s clear that Jalen isn’t letting his Type 1 diabetes stand in the way of his dreams but says he dreams of a time when a cure can be found.
“I do my blood sugar about 10 times a day,” Jalen said. “If you don’t have to do it at all, don’t have to do shots, it would be easier.”
Jalen’s mom Sloan calls him her “miracle baby” because he survived a near fatal incidence when he was first diagnosed.
She said it’s important to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to continue the momentum of recent developments in medical research.
“When you say diabetes, people think Type 2 diabetes and overweight, obese and bad diet,” Sloan said. “Type 1 is a totally different disease.”
In fact, a recent study by the Colorado School of Public Health shows Type 1 diabetes is up 21 percent from 8 years ago.
Diabetes affects entire families. Jaden’s little sister Gioia is trained to spot the signs of a low blood sugar emergency.
She said she knew exactly what to do when Jalen recently showed the signs of a drop in sugar.
Rodney Waters, Jalen’s father, said he is proud of his son’s strength in taking on the challenge of Type 1 diabetes and values the support shown by the community to the JDRF.
“You don’t want them to be dependent you want them to be independent as much as they can through life,” Rodney said.
Jalen cherishes his role as JDRF Ambassador because he can reach out to younger kids living with diabetes.
He said it “feels good to have people looking up to me especially the younger kids.”
He is surely making his parents and his community proud.