Zach's story: Giving back through T1D


Diabetes | Texas Children's Hospital

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) four years ago, when I was 13 years old. My life changed drastically after learning this, but Texas Children’s was there to guide me through the diagnosis. They calmed my nerves by providing me with personalized care and taught me everything I need to do for myself in order to maintain a healthy life. Every day I check my blood sugar at least five times, count the carbohydrates in all the food I eat and manage my insulin accordingly. Initially, a high level of stress was associated with the immense knowledge I needed to retain on that first day, and every day thereafter. Among the many issues on my plate as a teenager with T1D, I needed to find a way to carry my diabetic supplies with me so I could monitor my health on the go. This was difficult at first, because the pouch I had received for my blood meter was too small to carry everything I needed.

For me, I felt extremely uncomfortable when it came to looking different than everyone else, especially when I had to check my blood sugar levels at school with my classmates around me. Thankfully, my parents gave me an amenity pouch they brought home from a business class trip with United Airlines, which worked very well for me! Thanks to this perfectly sized pouch, I could easily fit all the things I need to check my blood sugars, alongside a few other emergency items like sugar tablets. Overall, this was an incredibly simple solution for me when it came to monitoring my health and feeling like a normal kid at the same time.

I know – it’s just a pouch – but I had so much to think about when I was newly diagnosed with this condition, and not having to worry about the logistics of carrying my diabetic supplies was very helpful. Since then, my parents have picked up many of these bags on their flights, and I’ve personally given them to other diabetic children in my community. Firsthand, I’ve seen the impact these pouches have on not only myself, but these other children as well.

Earlier this year, United Airlines supplied hundreds of these amenity pouches for me to donate to fellow diabetics in my community and at Texas Children’s Hospital. So far, after speaking with my school district’s nurses about the common condition, I’ve given out over 100 of these pouches to the entirety of my district’s T1D population. In the coming months, I’m hoping to visit a Texas Children’s support group to speak about my T1D journey and pass out several of these pouches.

Texas Children's Diabetes and Endocrine Care Center is a leader in the research and treatment of children with diabetes and endocrine disorders. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.