How Mallory Richards is Living Diabetter

Q&A with Mallory Richards
I met with Mallory Richards, a Junior at Parish Episcopal School (my alma mater) who is redefining what is means to live with diabetes. Diagnosed at the age of six, she not only raises awareness in her community but raises money for a foundation close to her heart. Mallory is a true example of what is means to Live Diabetter!

Q: When were you diagnosed?
A: I was six at the time and we thought that I was using the restroom a lot and I was super thirsty all the time. We thought it was strep throat or a bladder infection, so we ended up going to the doctor and my blood sugar was above six-hundred. So they put me in the hospital right away.
Q: How has your lifestyle changed?
A: It’s definitely made things harder because it’s just one more thing to have to deal with on top of everything else going on in life. But it’s also taught me time management. When I’m having a bad day, I have to learn to get back on my feet and keep going and push through, and realize that some things are more important.
Q: What are your daily struggles?
A: Accepting the fact that when my friends run off and do things that I have to stop for a second and pay attention to it, and not let it affect me when everyone else is doing other things and I’m held back.
Q: How did you tell your friends?
A: As I started getting older, my friends just automatically started to take care of it as if they had the disease as well. They were always there to have my back and they’re sometimes when they understand it better than I do. They’re able to take care of me. One of my friends even knows how to changed my insulin pump, which is very impressive!
Q: What are your proudest accomplishments?
A: One of my proudest accomplishments with this disease is raising awareness throughout the community. When I first got diagnosed, I was a part of the walk, I lived in North Carolina at the time, but I think I raised over $10,000 for JDRF.
Q: What is the biggest misconception with Type 1.
A: Automatically when I tell people I have Type One they always just jump straight to “Oh, you can’t eat sugar, you can’t eat this, are your sure you can do this? Have that?” You know I have teachers who start to hand out candy and they skip right over me and I’m like “I’m still here, I can still eat candy.” I don’t have this disease because I ate poorly or because I don’t exercise… it’s because my body literally stopped working.
Q: How do your treat lows and highs during school?
A: It’s hard when you’re low or you’re high and you’re in the middle of class, especially I’ve had instances where in the middle of tests and quizzes, I’m not feeling great but I try to push through and even some of my teachers have come to notice. It’s hard to tip-toe around having to excuse myself from class, especially when we’re learning important things and I’m like “I need to go tot he nurse.”
Q: What are your extracurricular activities?
A: I’m very involved in theatre, I’ve been doing it since the fifth grade. The reason I think I came to love theatre so much is because I was able to go on stage and be a completely different person. I wasn’t Mallory with diabetes which was nice.
Q: Explain Parish Family Performs?
A: I’m directing Parish Family Performs which is a Broadway revue show that’s performed by faculty, staff, parents and alumni. Every year a Junior directs it for the Junior Service Project and they get to benefit a cause of their choice so this year I decided to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. All proceeds from the show along with a free shoe day that we did with our uniforms, all the money collected is going straight to JDRF.
Q: What advice do you have for someone battling Diabetes?
A: You’re not alone. This disease doesn’t define you and that you’re going to have bumps in the road and it’s not always going to be easy but you can get through it. We’re searching for a cure.
Q: What does living Diabetter mean to you?
A: Living Diabetter means taking care of yourself and taking the action of being in control of this disease, that way you live better with Type One.
I’m Mallory Richards and I’m Living Diabetter!

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