A story about Nicole Williams' battle with Type 1 diabetes incorrectly reported that she monitors her insulin levels. She checks her blood glucose levels to determine whether she needs to inject insulin into her body.
PLEASANTON -- Nicole Williams, 8, was sitting in a chair in her fourth grade classroom when she heard a beeping sound coming from her hip.
Glancing down, she unclipped a pink, rectangular device with a clear tubing from her hip. It was time to check her insulin levels.
At just 8 years old, Nicole is one of many children in the Bay Area living with Type 1 diabetes.
Diagnosed at age 3, she has become extremely self-sufficient to maintain her healthy physique. She swims, dances and cheers, and if you were to look at her, you would never know she was diabetic.
In fact she is a role model to others, and is one of 9 Bay Area kids chosen to serve as ambassadors for this year's Walk to Cure Diabetes.
Just Wednesday, she spoke to her own class at Vintage Hills Elementary, talking about the disease and confidently answering questions like, "If I touch you, can I get diabetes?"
"I have asked my mom why I can't just be normal," Nicole shyly admits. "But mostly I am just like everyone else."
But getting to where she is now has not been easy.
Nicole was with her mother and family friends at Bonfante Gardens in Gilroy the summer of 2007 when
At 96 degrees outside, Williams was downing water by the bottle. But no matter how much she drank, she could not keep any fluids in. Her mother's friend noticed something wrong, and strongly urged that Nicolesee a doctor.
Megan Williams took her daughter to the pediatrician, and the two were not even home yet when Megan Williams received a phone call to stop her car, turn around and head to Children's Hospital Oakland.
Insulin levels in the human body should jump no higher than 300. Williams levels read right around 700.
"To this day, I cannot talk about it without crying," Megan Williams said. "She should have been in a coma."
Nicole was officially diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Aug. 14, 2007.
She her family have spent countless hours researching the disease, meeting with doctors and specialists and even going to a special camp aimed solely for children with diabetes.
Megan Williams routinely checks her daughter's insulin levels to make sure she does not need an extra boost of insulin, even if Nicole is fast asleep in bed.
Though it is now routine to measure every gram of every carbohydrate that goes into her body, as is pricking her finger with a small needle multiple times a day, Nicole and her family admit getting into a groove was tough.
"I am worried I make it sound so easy," said Megan Williams. "I had a week to learn everything I could about the disease while (Nicole) was in the hospital. They sent us home with a bag full of pamphlets and information. That was it."
And while new products to measure insulin levels or inject insulin into the body are always improving or emerging on the global market, managing Type 1 diabetes is not an exact science but rather a guessing game that involves much troubleshooting.
Nicole's levels may be within normal range at 3 p.m., but then at midnight, they may be below 100 or well above that number.
Megan Williams said she constantly worries and she admits that for the first few years after her daughter was diagnosed, she never left her side.
Williams would never admit she worries about her diabetes, preferring to show her new cartwheeling tricks instead.
But she does have an outlook on her life and those who also have Type 1 diabetes.
"I want (people) to know that it does get better," she said. "It's OK."
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-847-2164 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.
WALK TO CURE DIABETES
More than 6,000 walkers rare expected to participate in the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes throughout the month of October in four Bay Area locations.
The fundraising goal of the Greater Bay Area Chapter is to raise more than $2 million for research to find a cure for diabetes and its complications.
Nicole Williams is one of nine Bay Area children selected to serve as ambassadors for this year's walk.
Following are the Bay Area dates and locations for the 2012 Walk to Cure Diabetes:
Sunday, Oct. 7 - Great America, Santa Clara
Sunday, Oct. 14 - Oakland Zoo, Oakland
Saturday, Oct. 20 - Mazda Raceway, Laguna Seca, Monterey
Sunday, Oct. 28 - Great Meadow at Fort Mason, San Francisco
For more information, visit www.jdrfbayarea.org/Walk.