Hi, I'm Haley Maurice!
I am a 15 year old girl who thrives on deep talks about life while sitting on the tops of mountains, pushing my own limits, and making a difference. I strive to be whole in a society that is everything but that. I have a deep desire to inspire, to live, to and to improve the lives of others.
Oh, and I guess I should add that I have type 1 diabetes.
The everlasting journey began when my family and I returned from a summer vacation to the beach on July 31, 2006, nearly eight years ago. It was a wonderful trip with the exception of the constant headaches, fatigue, and the fifteen stops we took on the drive back home so I could go to the bathroom… yeah, my brothers hated me for that one. I went to the doctor for a rash the next day where I ended up taking a blood test. Later that night, one phone call changed my life forever as I was rushed to the hospital with a blood sugar over 800.
At seven years old, I learned how to prick my own fingers and jab needles into my body. I learned to always figure out the number of carbohydrates there were in everything I ate before I could even think about taking a bite of it. I learned how to figure out the dose of insulin needed so that I wouldn’t go too high and feel wrong for the next few hours or too low to a point where I could faint or even die.
From that moment on, type 1 diabetes has uninvitedly not only become an integral part of my life, but has impacted all other aspects of it. Everything from school to friendships, essentially anything that involves me living and breathing is affected. High and low blood sugars, the drastic effects they have on my body and mind, the dauntingly constant threat of them becoming too extreme, the worry about future complications, and the effort and stress it takes to even attempt to manage this disease together all compose the underlying, unforgettable factor in my life.
At the age of seven, I essentially became my own doctor. I did things that no seven year old should ever have to think of doing. My idea of what I thought the real world was completely shattered. Because the perfect world we all dream of when we are children doesn’t exist. We live in the real one, where the only way these horrible things go away is for us to take action and stop them.
That’s why I became involved with JDRF, why I am so passionate about it, and why I will not stop until a cure is found. In the fall of 2007, I started my first team in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes. Our seven man team, the Maurice Monkeys, raised just over $1000. The next year we walked again, this time with a few more walkers and raising even more. Over the years, I continued to involve myself with JDRF more and more. I began advocating for research funding at local congressmen’s offices, volunteering at all sorts of events, and more. In this past year only, I became one of five members on the Family Team Committee for the walk, spoke at the Family Team Kick Off, met the CEO of JDRF, Jeffrey Brewer, and more. In 2010, I established Haley’s Comets, our local walk team composed of more than 60 of the most supportive family, friends, classmates, teachers, and neighbors I could possibly ask for. In total, we have raised more than $20,000 for JDRF through the Walk to Cure Diabetes.
I am now entering my junior year at Shadow Mountain High School in Phoenix, Arizona, and I refuse to let type 1 diabetes define me. At school, I am the Junior Class President and Vice President of the Society of Women’s Scholars. I take several honors classes and am at the top of my class. As a sophomore I played varsity golf and softball. I wear number 10 on my back in honor of Ron Santo, one of my personal heroes who became the only Major League Baseball Hall of Famer to live with type 1 diabetes. Despite losing both of his legs to this disease, Santo proved to the world that type one diabetes, no matter how difficult it can get, does not decide who you are. It is my goal to be able to convey this message and to inspire others in the same way that he inspired me.
Today, after living with type 1 diabetes for more than half of my life, I’ve pricked my finger to test my blood sugar more than 23,000 times. In the first five years, I injected myself with insulin more than 10,000 times, and over the past three, I’ve changed my pump site nearly 500 times. The scars scattered about my body and the thick, perpetual calluses that remain on my fingers do not define me, but rather shape me into who I am. For I am not a type 1 diabetic, but rather a person with type one diabetes.
And I won’t stop climbing until a cure is found.