Student becomes diabetes advocate over social media

It was an ordinary day when Zach Lumelski went for his yearly checkup. The nurse was checking his height and doing other procedures, until she found something disturbing. Lumelski was then rushed to the emergency room and he was scared out of his socks. He then found out that he had Type One Diabetes (T1D).

“Type one diabetes is when your immune system attacks your pancreas,” Lumelski said.

According to Mayoclinic.org, when the immune system attacks the pancreas, it produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar or glucose to enter cells to produce energy. The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream.

“Because I have Type One Diabetes, I have to use man-made insulin. I have to monitor my blood sugar 24/7,” Lumelski said.

According to Clevelandclinic.org, insulin pumps can help people with diabetes conveniently manage their blood sugar. These small devices deliver doses of insulin at specific times.

“I use an insulin pump which inserts insulin instead of manual insulin pen injections which hurt,” Lumelski said, “I also use Dexcom instead of pricking my finger all the time to monitor my blood sugar. It gives a fairly accurate reading.”

Lumelski’s blood can go high or low and there can be different side effects. He has to get insulin when his blood sugar is high, and if he is low, he has to take carbohydrates to bring his blood sugar back up to a safe level.

“I also have to carry my insulin pump and my sling bag,” Lumelski said, “but sometimes, I wish my life was normal.”

Lumelski’s friend, Aislinn O’Brien knew Zach before his T1D, she said “he didn’t change after his T1D, his personality was the same.”

“I am lucky I was there for him and I am happy with how he dealt with his Type One,” O’Brien said, “but I feel bad for everything Zach has to go through.”

Lumelski and his mom, Noelle Lumelski, created an Instagram: Sugar and Swag Life about Zach Lumelski’s T1D.

“It was all Zach’s idea to make an Instagram. He said he wanted to help other kids know what it was and spread awareness about T1D,” Noelle Lumelski said. “I feel that he has to worry about things other kids don’t have to worry about.”

Scientists are working on a cure for T1D using something called stem cells. According to Mayoclinic.org, babies are born with stem cells and they generate all the other cells a person needs like blood cells.

“[Scientists] might be able to inject them into the pancreas and it could start over,” Zach Lumelski said, “but so far it is just research.”

Lumelski stays positive even after getting T1D. He kept going because he had his family and he knew he was supported. His family would make him “feel comfortable.”

“I feel like he is a true ambassador of T1D,” Noelle Lumelski said. “I am very proud of my kiddo.”