It was the Fourth of July when Mackenzie Andrade's mother noticed something was wrong. Though it was hot, Mackenzie wasn't drinking enough water to justify the number of trips to the bathroom she made. A visit to the doctor the next day confirmed her mother's fears--Mackenzie had type 1 diabetes. 

After Mackenzie's diagnosis, the Andrade's brought her to the Pediatric Clinic at Joslin. Mackenzie met with the Certified Child Life Specialists who are trained to help children both understand diabetes and face it without fear. Child Life Specialists teach kids how to incorporate diabetes into their lives so they can do the same things other kids do. At the same time Mackenzie was meeting with the Child Life Specialist, her parents were meeting with a physician to learn what the diagnosis meant for Mackenzie and their family.

Mackenzie's mother says she took for granted how easy it was for the family to pick up and do something on a moment's notice. Diabetes means the family must plan everything they do. And Mackenzie, who has participated in sports since she was a young child, sometimes gets frustrated when she experiences highs or lows while playing soccer or softball. 

Nevertheless, Mackenzie is meeting the challenge of diabetes head-on. When she started middle school recently, she decided she wanted to teach other kids about her condition so she gave a speech to roughly 60 classmates about diabetes. Then she ran for student council and won. And then she ran for student council secretary and won again.

Mackenzie is a born competitor and her biggest challenge so far has been diabetes. She is knocking it out of the park in managing it, helping others understand it and living life on her own terms.

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