GMC student finds life’s calling through diabetes diagnosis

Sun News correspondentJanuary 8, 2014 

Ashlynne-Kate Chadwick is a lot of things -- a freshman at Georgia Military College, a Northside High School graduate, a friend, a sister, a daughter.

She is also a diabetic.

Chadwick has Type 1 diabetes -- formerly known as juvenile onset diabetes. She was diagnosed when she was 15.

“I started sleeping a lot, like randomly in class, and I have never been one to sleep in class. I had to use the restroom a lot, but the main thing was drinking water. I was drinking water, even though it had never been my thing, like I had run a marathon,” Chadwick said.

About the same time, she had a regular check-up, and her blood sugar was checked. It was more than four times what is considered normal.

She left the doctor’s office and went straight to the hospital, but she was determined to see her sister graduate high school the next day.

“Originally they wanted me to stay for three to four days. But I made up my mind I was going to see her graduate and learned everything I needed to in that one day.”

The first insulin shot came from a nurse, but Chadwick gave herself the second one and was released to see her sister graduate.

Belinda Enamorado is the Middle Georgia representative for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation -- the largest private nonprofit organization funding research for a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Enamorado’s daughter has diabetes. She explained one of the biggest myths surrounding diabetes -- eating sugar.

“Type 1 is not related to eating an unhealthy diet but is an autoimmune disease. Diabetics do have to eat a healthy diet like everyone else but don’t have to avoid sugar like Type 2’s do,” Enamorado said.

As many as 3 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes, according to the foundation.

Because of her own experience with diabetes, Chadwick has found her life’s calling -- nursing.

“In a way it has opened doors for me because before I was diagnosed I never even considered nursing. I know there is nothing I can’t do, as long as I manage myself correctly,” she said.

Along with the insulin pump, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Type 1 teen group has been a mainstay in Chadwick’s life. The organization also has a group for children under 10.

“We get together every month, and we always learn something. My last month we had a rep there showing us LED touch screen insulin pumps. It is just so nice to be able to go with a group and learn something and have people that I can relate to about this problem.”

But before she finished the sentence, Chadwick corrected herself.

“Diabetes is not a problem. It’s not a blessing either. It’s just an obstacle.”

Contact Alline Kent at 478-396-2467 or

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