What it’s like to be a kid with Type 1 diabetes

The eighth annual Bourbon & Bowties event on June 8, 2017, honored 13-year-old Mason Christensen. Doctors diagnosed Mason with Type 1 diabetes in 2013 when he was 9 years old. That’s the same age his dad, Tony, received his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

While Mason appears healthy, his body is always fighting to maintain blood sugar balance. Mason must constantly monitor his blood sugar levels — even at 2 a.m. That helps him avoid dangerous blood sugar lows and highs that can damage his organs.

Mason learned how to manage his disease with the support from caregivers at the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center, a collaboration between Norton Children’s Hospital and the University of Louisville. He also has the benefit of his dad’s personal experiences.

Mason is a student at North Oldham Middle School in Goshen, Kentucky, and is an avid sports enthusiast. He plays basketball and baseball and enjoys snow skiing, fishing and scuba diving.

He and his family advocate for additional care and research so other kids with diabetes can stay active on the playing field and live healthy lives. In 2016 they established the Christensen Family Sports & Activity Program at Norton Children’s Hospital to provide individualized monitoring and education for children with Type 1 diabetes, both on and off the playing field, and conduct research into the management of diabetes in young athletes.

The Lift A Life Foundation established the Wendy Novak Diabetes Center in 2013 with a $5 million gift. Created in 1999 through a charitable trust by David and Wendy Novak, the Lift a Life Foundation provides innovative grants to nonprofit partners serving Kentucky.

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