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Walking to Cure Type 1 Diabetes with Team Azúcar

Plum-Oakmont Patch Local Editor Heidi Dezayas is walking in her first Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes later this month.

As I sit here to type this column, it's so hard to believe that almost one year ago, I received news that would change my life forever.

When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes last year, I didn't know how this was going to impact my life. It was terrifying. I went in to the doctor for a check-up and ended up being admitted into the hospital (my first time ever).

When I was discharged a few days later, I was, in a sense, coming out of the hospital as a new person. I had to change a whole lot in my life—my eating habits, exercise, medication, etc.

Fast forward one year later—it's still a pain. But after the initial shock and denial phase, I have come to embrace this diagnosis (sort of). I wish every single day that I didn't have this disease, but it has changed me for the better because it has challenged me to overcome all of its obstacles.

Those who know about Type 1 know that it never goes away and there are a lot of complications that accompany it if it is not controlled or treated correctly.

I've done many amazing things in the past year—I hiked up Diamond Head in Hawaii, went surfing for the first time, ran two 5Ks, I'm training for the Great Race 10K at the end of the month and I've signed up to run a half marathon early next year (I explain why this is all extra tough for people with Type 1 ).

I am also very proud to say that I have formed a team—Team Azúcar—for the Sept. 22 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk to Cure Diabetes in Pittsburgh. This is my first time walking and fundraising for the organization, and I am so excited to contribute to an organization that is set on curing diabetes.

In my lifetime, I know there will be advances in technology that will make managing diabetes easier for me and millions of others—there might even be a cure. So far, my team has raised a little over $600. I wanted to take the time to thank everyone who has made a donation and to the members of the Verona Eagles for buying more than 100 candy bars to benefit the cause.

If anyone is interested in contributing to JDRF, please visit my fundraising page: http://ow.ly/dsROC. You also can contact me at heidi.dezayas@patch.com.

If you're wondering about my team name, azúcar means "sugar" in Spanish. It's a phrase that became the trademark for famous Cuban singer and the "Queen of Salsa," Celia Cruz. It's such a lively phrase, and just because I have diabetes and need to watch my sugar intake, it doesn't mean I can't lead a sweet life. It seemed like the perfect fit for us.

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