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Meet Ben, Age 7
Four days before his sixth birthday, Ben started showing signs that something was wrong: he was increasingly thirsty and was urinating much more than usual. The Roelofs have a family history of diabetes, so they knew these symptoms needed immediate medical attention. They came to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Emergency Room where Ben was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“They admitted him immediately, and Ryan Miller, MD met with us in our hospital room,” Ben’s mom Katie said.
Dr. Miller, along with a diabetes educator and a nutritionist, met with the family to educate them about Ben’s treatment plan. Since his pancreas does not produce insulin to regulate his blood sugar, Ben’s family would have to essentially be his pancreas for him. During Ben’s three-day hospital stay, the diabetes team made sure that the family learned how to properly care for him at home, including administering insulin and monitoring his diet.
“It’s difficult for a seven-year-old boy to go through this, especially since he’s healthy by all other accounts. But he’s doing great and taking everything in stride,” Katie said.
Now that Ben’s type 1 diabetes is under control, he can focus on doing the things he loves: science experiments. Ben wants to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps and become a scientist when he grows up. “I’m going to cure diabetes!” he said.