WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Almost ten years ago, Ashley Vensel was rushed to hospital where she discovered she had type 1 diabetes.
Illness didn’t stop her from becoming a star on the Wylie High School football team and ultimately becoming a key player in the UMHB.
If you watch Ashley play for Cru you would have no idea she has diabetes, but over the past decade her struggles with diabetes have been as much mental as it is physical.
At just 10 years old, Ashley was on her way to a soccer tournament when she had to stop for numerous bathroom breaks and couldn’t stay hydrated.
For weeks before the trip, her family had noticed that she was losing weight and still seemed tired. These symptoms were eerily similar to those of her diabetic grandmother, so Ashley’s family decided to have her checked out.
Ashley said to me, “They tested my blood sugar, which was around 700. The normal range is 80 to 100, so they immediately took me to the hospital.”
Ashley remembers being confused and disheartened. How can a healthy and active 10 year old girl have such a serious illness?
“Vivid memories of me sitting in the hospital having no idea what was going on. I felt that my purpose and my identity had changed. I was now a “diabetic girl”.
The hardest part for Ashley was the mental toll. She feels like there is a stigma around diabetes, and she was concerned that her friends and classmates would think she was in poor health – although this is not necessarily the case with diabetes. type 1.
“It’s not because you’re overweight, it’s not because you drank it, it’s not because you have a bad diet. It’s really just because you have an autoimmune disease.
As taboo as diabetes could be, Ashley was relieved to see that one of her favorite celebrities, Nick Jonas, also had diabetes, and he wasn’t letting it down.
“I remember when I was a kid just looking at him and thinking, ‘he’s a superstar. If he can be a superstar with diabetes, then I can definitely do whatever I want ”.
It hasn’t been easy for Ashley, who wears a device that constantly checks her blood sugar levels and often struggles with the nasty side effects of the combination of exercise and diabetes.
“Adrenaline raises your blood sugar. So, I am dealing with the symptoms of hyperglycemia, which include feeling really thirsty, being really tired, and not being able to concentrate.
Ashley fought her fight in private for a long time, but she recently decided to start publicizing it.
She uses social media to educate and inspire other young athletes facing their own adversity.
Ashley takes it one step further, she is studying to be a nurse so that she can comfort and encourage other children who face difficult battles, in the same way that her nurses have helped her overcome obstacles.
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