WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Catchie McDonald never signed up to be the face of Type-1 diabetes, but she’s not going to turn her back on the chance.
“I was really scared and I didn’t know what to do," Catchie said when she first heard the words Type-1 diabetes. "When they said we need to go to the hospital I started crying, I remember that I was really scared.”
Those feelings came eight years ago for Catchie McDonald - diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes as a five year old. But those feelings are now a thing of the past.
“Yeah I just kind of got used to the routine when I was five and six," Catchie said. "My mom would come to school and give them [shots] to me because I was really young and I couldn’t give them to myself and once I got the pump it got much easier and I got used to the routine.”
Not that she had much of a choice. Type-1 diabetes has no cure, Catchie and others with the chronic condition will live with it forever – and Catchie certainly lives. Each week she puts in 20 or more hours of gymnastics in Little River, South Carolina.
But she also wants to be a champion for the disease.
Catchie recently wrote an essay and was selected as one of five teenagers to represent North Carolina at the 2019 Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund Children’s Congress which gives kids with Type-1 a chance to talk with lawmakers and give them an idea of what it’s like living with the disease and why funding is so important.
“I want to show everyone that diabetes isn’t just a piece of cake, it’s not easy to deal with but with a special diabetes program that can help with more money into it, it can help raise awareness," Catchie said. "I know right now they’re already working on looking for a cure or making things easier.”
Typically nothing comes easy at the Government level, but what both sides of the aisle can agree on is that kids like Catchie are our future – and while speaking to Congress she’s speaking for millions who live with Type-1 everyday in the hopes that one day they won’t have to.
“I’m a little nervous but it’s also very exciting and an honor to be able to do this," Catchie said. "When we go talk to Congress they’ll realize how important it is to be aware of Type-1 and I think that in years it will be – I don’t know if there will be a definite cure but there will be a lot of upgrades.”