I want to introduce you to an incredible young man, Luke Rosser. Luke is a champion in many ways but most importantly, Luke is a champion fighting for the health of other youth in his state of Florida. It’s important to know that Luke is a 13 year old Triathlete and has been competing in sports most of his life.
Luke recently found out he is a Type 1 diabetic. Type 1 diabetes is a condition where the pancreas doesn’t make any insulin, which is needed to control the body’s level of blood sugar. In Type 1 diabetics like Luke, the body’s own immune system mistakenly destroys the insulin-producing (islet) cells in the pancreas; viruses, genetics or other unknown conditions can cause this immune system dysfunction. Type 2 diabetes is mostly caused by poor diet and an inactive lifestyle.
I am not going to tell Luke’s story. You are going to hear it from Amberly Snapp, a college student who was so impressed with Luke, his family and his courage that she wanted to share his story through a class assignment.
As for my favorite charity, it is Type 1 diabetes. My friend Meredith Rosser lives in Oakland, Florida. Meredith’s son Luke was diagnosed last year with type 1 diabetes. Luke was just 12 years old and the epitome of good health. Luke was in triathlon with his family and was winning first and second in just about everything he entered. His Mother has worked hard and prayed hard for Luke to get a diabetic pump, which was denied. Luke continued to win and take medals for swimming, biking and running in spite of having diabetes. Luke met Chris Clark the “Ultra Man” race winner who gave Luke his Ultra Man bracelet and now friend and mentor. Luke also met and is friends with the founder Wallace Bishop from South Carolina who is the founder of Vive Shakes. Vive shakes help to keep sugar levels normal so athletes can continue in their sports without spikes or lows in their sugar levels. Years ago those with diabetes were not able to participate in sports that could cause their sugar level to plummet or spike and put them in danger with their health. With the help of people like Wallace Bishop and Chris Clark who is also a diabetic, that is a thing of the past.
Tour de Cure is going to be a fundraiser to help those with Type 1 Diabetes. The fundraiser will be held at Lake Nona in Orlando Florida on March 13th 2016. Many professional sponsors including Johnson & Johnson, Lilly/diabetes, David’s World Cycle, Florida Hospital, BB&T Bank, Orlando Health, Central Care, Golds Gym, Florida Emergency Physicians, Williams Company, Human Performance Institute, Jaguar of Orlando, The Bond Foundation, Walgreens and Tijuana Flats of Orlando will have food there as well as many others. On December 16th 2015 11 pm Channel 6 WKMG our local TV station did a story on Luke and his fight with diabetes. Luke has a website where people can read about him and how diabetes can strike anyone at any age. Anyone can go to his site and make a donation to him to continue with his fight for fitness in spite of diabetes and to raise awareness and to help others as well. To donate go to main.diabetes.org/goto/LukeRosser
Now I would like to post Meredith’s version of Luke’s story.
Living a healthy lifestyle and exercise literally saved my son’s life.
Just a few months ago, February 8th to be exact, my son was rushed to the emergency room with symptoms of being very ill. At that time, we were in Tampa Florida for a swim meet. Luke is a very active 12 year old boy, who swims on an elite swim team, and races on an elite triathlon team, Endorphin Fitness. Swimming, biking and running are a part of his life six days a week. When he showed signs of being ill, of course as parents my husband and I figured he was over training and worn out. We also thought he was coming down with a virus, and just plain tired.
The diagnosis that fateful afternoon was Type 1 Diabetes. Luke’s sugar levels were over 1400 and he was in active DKA, Diabetic Ketoacidosis. For those of you who don’t know how elevated that is, a normal person’s blood sugar levels should be in the mid 80’s to 100. A dangerous level of this is considered 400 and higher. By all rights, he should not have been able to be standing and walking into the emergency room much less have been competing less than 24 hours earlier in a competitive swim meet.
I will never forget the doctor’s words that night to Luke in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. After he asked him what he did for fun, Luke explained he was on an elite competitive swim team, and an elite triathlon team. The doctor paused for a moment and said “Son, exercise is what saved your life.” Luke remained in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for three days before the doctors got his glucose levels under control.
Many stories like this have a happy ending, but some often do not. Its heart wrenching to think this could have had a different ending, instead, it was just the beginning. Luke went on just a couple months after the diagnosis to qualify for the Florida Age Group Championship Swim Meet. He also competed at the Florida State Regional Championship Race in Sebring Florida and took 3rd Place in state. In August, he competed at the USAT Youth National Championship Race in Ohio to take 8th Place in the Nation.
In Luke’s own words: Hello, my name is Luke Rosser. I am 13 years old, and I have Type 1 Diabetes. I have not always been a diabetic. On February 8th I was competing at a swim meet in Tampa Florida when my family and friends noticed I wasn’t feeling so good. I was really tired, and every time I would eat or drink something I would throw up. I managed to still compete during the swim meet that day and set a new personal record for a couple of my strokes. After getting up every hour in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and feeling sick and weak, my parents decided to rush back home to the children’s hospital in Orlando.
When we got to the ER at the hospital I was immediately taken back to a room where I was given two IV’s and the nurses drew blood to run some tests. I was so tired, all I wanted to do was sleep. A short time later a doctor came into my room and told me my glucose sugar was over 1400! I had no idea what that meant, but when my mom started crying I knew it must not be good. The doctor asked me what sports I liked, and I told him I am a swimmer on a swim team, and I am on a triathlon team and race all over the United States. I also like to mountain bike and run in 5K races. The doctor said “Son, exercise saved your life” and I was lucky to be alive!
I had to stay in the hospital for three days in the pediatric intensive care unit. When I was able to go home, I was embarrassed to go back to swim team and told my parents that I didn’t want to race in triathlons anymore. Three weeks later I met a triathlete named Chris Clark, who is also a Type 1 Diabetic. He was in Orlando for the Ultra Man Triathlon Race. He told me to keep going and never give up. He said “Don’t let diabetes take over your life, but take control of it and keep going.” Chris was a huge inspiration to me so I told my parents and coaches that I was ready to start swimming and competing again. I wanted to take back control so I trained hard and managed my diabetes during, before and after races all on my own. (My parents supervising of course) I qualified for the Florida Age Group Championship Swim Meet in Sarasota, Florida just a few months after being diagnosed. I raced in the Florida State Regional Championship Triathlon Race in Sebring Florida in June and took 3rd Place. In August I went to Ohio and raced in the USAT Youth National Championship Triathlon Race and took 8th Place in the Nation.
My goals for 2016 are to qualify for the FLAGS Swim Meet again, and take 1st Place in both the Florida State Regional Championship and USAT Youth National Championship Triathlon races. I also plan to share my story with others and encourage them to live healthy lives by exercising regularly and eating healthy. With the help of my parents, I want to make it a law that all kids are tested yearly for Type 1 Diabetes at well and sick visits at their doctor’s office.
Thank you Meredith and Luke for sharing your story and inspiring others to take charge of their health and not allow it to take over their life. Luke you are a very special little man to experience all that you have at such a young age. We wish you all the best in your sports career and we will be cheering you on every step of the way. Kick some diabetes butt! You are the Change!
Please visit Luke’s page at Luke Rosser on Facebook and follow his successes and his continual fight as he meets many more mentors and famous people as he becomes one himself!
You can follow this brave young man at Luke’s Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/LrT1Dathlete/photos/pb.1706491392915945.-2207520000.1452786078./1724603441104740/?type=3&theater
After hearing Luke’s story I hope you will consider making a donation to support Luke in his fight to help many others with Type 1 Diabetes. Thank you for your consideration. main.diabetes.org/goto/LukeRosser
I am looking forward to riding with Luke and many others on March 13th in the Cure De Tour to support Luke. Maybe you would like to ride with us, we would love to have you on Luke’s team.
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog are not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor if you have health conditions and before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.