When Nik Smith was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes 14 months ago, it changed everything about his life.
Now Smith, 18, of Port Deposit, and his fellow National Honor Society members from West Nottingham Academy are working to change the lives of others.
The NHS from WNA is hosting a Walk to Cure Diabetes to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
There will be a 5K, food, games, prizes, information booths, and fun activities for the whole family. Smith and his fellow NHS member Abby McClure are working to get donations and plan the event. The pair explained that throughout the school year, honor society members have been working to do community service projects to give back.
For Smith, planning a walk to benefit JDRF was an obvious choice. At age 16, Smith was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. That means that he wears an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor.
"It was definitely different when I was diagnosed. I had to change my lifestyle. When I was first diagnosed, I was depressed, upset and angry," he said. "Now I embrace it. You have to take it day to day. And now I want to be an endocrinologist."
He said he endures 8-10 finger pricks per day for his testing. "It's a lot of work. I forget what it's like not to have it. It impacts everything," he said.
McClure has been so impacted by Smith's condition that she signed on to help. She also wrote a scholarship essay about the hardships her friend endures. "It has changed the lives of people around him," McClure said.
Smith said that the goal for the fundraiser is to donate $1,500 to JDRF. He hopes to collect that much in donations at the 5K. He also said that his goal is to raise awareness about diabetes and its impact. "Type 1 diabetes is a growing concern and people need to be aware of it," added Smith. "Your life completely changes when you are diagnosed. It has changed me. But it's more of a blessing than a curse."
You may donate to this cause at www2.jdrf.org/goto/wna.