Young Anya Khurana didn't expect to face a lifelong medical condition that would define her daily routine and lifestyle, but this energetic 13-year-old is truly living and thriving despite it.
The Type 1 diabetes (T1D) that she has, is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults instantly. Testing for her blood sugar levels and self-injecting insulin are now a part of her daily life.
An eighth-grader at Gale Ranch Middle School, Anya was chosen as one of seven children from the Bay Area to serve as ambassadors for the 2013 Walk to Cure Diabetes presented by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) coming up next month. Bay Area walks will be held at the Oakland Zoo on Oct. 13; California's Great America in Santa Clara on Oct. 20; and the Great Meadow at Fort Mason in San Francisco on Oct. 27 with an additional walk at Lover's Point in Pacific Grove on Oct. 6.
Excited to be an ambassador, Anya says she feels she is taking an active role in JDRF fundraising. "I am helping. I am helping to find a cure instead of just waiting around for the cure," she says.
As an ambassador, "I want to spread awareness about T1D and its research, make new friends and mentor newly diagnosed people."
Born in Fremont, Anya was diagnosed when she was 10 years old and visiting the Bay Area after relocating to India with her family. Her family moved back to San Ramon in 2010.
The diagnosis of this condition came as a complete surprise to this healthy, energetic girl and her family. She thought a pulled back muscle was the result of her gymnastics workouts. A routine urine test revealed high blood sugar which was confirmed by a blood test and the diagnosis of T1D.
"Being different" from other kids, Anya says, is one of her biggest challenges since she was diagnosed. She questioned why no one else had to take shots, sit out of PE because her blood sugar level was too low or constantly watch what she ate.
But, she adds with a stunning smile and articulation that belies her mere 13 years, "I'm not going to let this (T1D) stop me from doing anything I would do if I didn't have T1D" and that means working hard in school with the goal of becoming a pediatric endocrinologist and helping find a cure for the disease that affects her life. Anya says she is inspired by other people who have T1D such as several Olympic athletes, actress Halle Berry and Nick Jonas.
"I've got my whole life planned, and I don't think I will let diabetes stop me," says Anya.
More than 5,000 walkers are expected to participate in the Bay Area Walks next month with the goal of raising $1.6 million for research to find a cure for diabetes and its complications. Founded in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.6 billion to diabetes research.
For more information on the 2013 Walk to Cure Diabetes, visit www.jdrfbayarea.org/Walk or follow Anya and fellow ambassadors on idrfbayarea.org/news; on facebook.com/JDRFBayArea; or on twitter at twitter.com/JDRFBayArea.
STREET SMARTS, a traffic safety education program serving the San Ramon Valley, kicks off its community program with a special event highlighting helmet safety for cyclists Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Building, 400 Hartz Ave., in Danville.
Mark Ballock is the guest speaker, and he will present details of the Street Smarts 2013-14 program which will include: the 10th Annual Storybook Poster Contest for elementary school students; the "Be Reel" Video Contest for middle school students; the "It Happens" teen traffic safety campaign; and traffic safety assemblies and bike rodeos. Presenters also include San Ramon Mayor Bill Clarkson, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, Contra Costa County District II Supervisor Candace Andersen and Ken Mintz, board president of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District.
Street Smarts is a partnership among the San Ramon Valley Unified School District, the City of San Ramon, the Town of Danville, and Contra Costa County. Program sponsors include State Farm, Sunset Development and the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs.
Contact Monica Lander at email@example.com.