Well, my name is Corey Smith and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in June of 1999 when I was 7 years old. I vividly remember thinking “I wonder if I will have to go to school…” shortly after the doctor told my family and I the news. Fast forward to 2014 and I’m now 22, but still a type 1 diabetic. I have attended three different universities in pursuit of my degree, but still a type 1 diabetic. I was able to place 2nd in the U.S. Open of Brazilian jiu jitsu under NAGA (North American Grappling Association), but still a type 1 diabetic. I have had, and won, two amateur mixed martial art fights for Strikehard Productions, but still, you guessed it, a type 1 diabetic. What I am trying to say is in order to tell you who I am, I list my accomplishments, aspirations and failures, what did I not mention there? Diabetes. Diabetes is not who I am. My friends do not call me diabetic Corey. The people I challenged in hand-to-hand combat did not think they were fighting just a diabetic, and they were right. Life is full of things that can make or break you, and it is usually in the eyes of the beholder that the decision will be made to be broken or be made into something better. Through my struggles with diabetes I have come to realize that the easy thing to do is let it break me. It’s easy to not monitor yourself, it’s easy to try and live your life like the countless people you see walking by you. Although, it is not easy to ask more of yourself. It is not easy to take a disease in which most would say “I don’t know how you do it” or “I couldn’t have diabetes because I hate needles/shots.” But as the saying goes, life’s not easy. Type 1 diabetes is another tool in my arsenal that I have to make me a better person, it requires the most rigid of regimes and most stout of resolves. It may land a few hits on me every now and again, seemingly all “low blows,” but I refuse to be defined by something that I have the power to define myself.
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