"Walk to Cure Diabetes" Saturday in Balboa Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

"Walk to Cure Diabetes" Saturday in Balboa Park

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - More than 3 million Americans have Type 1 or juvenile diabetes, and many of those are very young children. Type 1 isn't caused by lifestyle choices, but it will affect those choices in profound ways, creating huge challenges for those young patients and their parents.

Six-year-old Hanna Schenkhuizen may be a natural at keeping trains running on time. You see, she's used to being on a schedule. Hanna has Type 1 or juvenile diabetes. She's tested anywhere from six to 14 times a day, very often followed by a shot of insulin, something her body won't produce.

A few minutes after the injection, she eats. But even snacks take thought and planning. Everyone who cares for her, from the nurse at school to her parents at home must understand clearly how many carbs she's taking in.

The carbs matter because they turn to sugar, and too high blood sugar can have serious long-term consequences on Hannah's health, including kidney failure and blindness. Too low blood sugar leads to more immediate dangers, including convulsions and unconsciousness.

"Unfortunately we've been to urgent care twice and spent our time at Children's because it's a situation where it's the parent of a diabetic's worst nightmare," father Erick Schenkhuizen said.

It's a nightmare that Erick and Hannah's entire family hopes to see come to an end for good. That's why they're joining with thousands of other San Diegans this Saturday for the annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes in Balboa Park.

"I just want her to be a kid, just laugh and play like the other kids," Erick said.

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