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by Judith Hruz
Medical experts seem to agree that the average age at which a child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in between ages 10 and 14.
Conor Pugh, 17, who just finished his junior year at Sherwood High School, was 14 when he received the diagnosis.
Like others with Type 1 diabetes, his life became a daily – sometimes hourly – struggle with controlling his blood sugar, taking insulin as many as six times, or more, a day, and staying positive in the face of a life-changing diagnosis.
But those are the areas where the “average” description ends for Conor.
The Life Scout with Scouts of America Troop 262 decided he would make the arduous journey through Type 1 diabetes easier for other students who were diagnosed with it.
As part of his Eagle Scout project, he created 60 “diabetes kits” filled with some of the essentials: an insulin cooler, medical ID bracelet, a sharps disposal container for storing used needles, a water battle, glucose tablets, a calculator, educational materials to help others adjust to a diabetes diagnosis and the shoulder bag that carries the equipment.
Some 55-60 students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) each year have Type 1 diabetes.
The kits will be distributed through Montgomery County Health and Human Services school health nurses.
Conor said he felt “very special” to be able to help other people.
The kits, he said, will allow other students to get the information and “tools” earlier, and perhaps easier, than he did.
“It was a lot to figure out,” he said about what he needed when he received the diagnosis.
His parents, James and Jeanne Pugh of Brookeville, set up a GoFundMe page for the initial contributions to create the kits. They are hoping to get support from service organizations and others in the community to create enough kits for each MCPS student each school year.
In the meantime, Conor was honored during a press conference June 13 at Sherwood High School.
And he vowed to continue to be the very positive face of Type 1 diabetes.
“Without a doubt, Connor, you have made this your superpower,” said Sherwood school nurse Irene Gumucio.
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