I’m Helena from Alpharetta, Georgia. I am a soon to be a freshman in college, and I’m going to be attending Auburn University in Alabama. I plan to major in nursing with a minor in psychology. I love spending time with animals and children at any opportunity I can. I also absolutely love traveling. I hope to visit as many states and countries as I can. My favorite time of year is spending a week of my summer at Camp Kudzu for teens with diabetes. It brings me so much excitement and happiness, I can’t even describe.

What is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your diabetes, and how did you respond?
One of the thing that I continually get asked is, “how is your blood pressure doing?” and of course I always have a good laugh and then tell them well my blood glucose is doing fine, but I’m not sure about my blood pressure.

Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something due to your diabetes, and you proved them wrong?
I think if you ask any diabetic they’ll all tell you that at some point in their life, someone has told them they can’t eat something because it has sugar in it. People are just not informed. A diabetic can eat anything that a normal person can, they just have to take insulin for it. Of course when people tell me I can’t eat something, I just eat it anyways.

How do you inspire others?
When it comes to younger kids with diabetes, specifically my little diabetic campers, I try to inspire them by telling them my story. I try to show them that even when diabetes gets hard and all you want to do it give up, you just have to keep on fighting. At times you may not want to, but it’s your life and it’s worth more than they know. I am proof that you can let your diabetes absolutely take over your life and make everything miserable, but you can overcome that an prove that it doesn’t have to. There can even be some perks to having diabetes.

How has diabetes contributed to forming you into the person you are today? Mentally, physically, or emotionally?
Diabetes is a day-to-day challenge that any diabetic struggles with. It gets hard and it gets annoying, but at the end of the day when I sit down and think about it, I can’t remember my life before having diabetes. I am me because of my diabetes. I would not be the same person if I didn’t have diabetes. When I started high school, I didn’t pay close attention to my condition and was way more focused on friends that resulted in me having a sky rocketed a1c and my endocrinologist was not happy. I really doubted myself and didn’t think I could get any better. I was extremely damaged emotionally and mentally. I completely proved myself wrong and now its 4 years later and my a1c is the best that it has been in over 6 years. I overcame my major challenge and I am much stronger because of it.

Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 regular sized ducks?
I would rather have 100 regular sized ducks, because I absolutely love animals, so why would I just have 1 duck when I could have 100 cute little ones.

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