SSN: Scott Chemelewski Athlete Feature


Perseverance Through Obstacles

The sun beats down as Senior Scott Chemelewski kneels in the dry grass tying his shoes, preparing for yet another cross country meet. He is feeling good having checked the level of sugar in his bloodstream 30 minutes ago. Chemelewski loves running, and he has been running cross country since 5th grade and track 5th-8th, but it isn’t always easy for him because he has to deal with diabetes. His perseverance and dedication are inspiring, continuing to run despite the obstacles. He has improved his mile time every year, and just completed his 8th year as a runner.

Diabetes is a part of him that he can’t change but has learned to live with. When asked about what it was like being diagnosed, he said,

“It rocked my world a little bit. Not knowing what was going on at such a young age and then having a doctor tell you that you have diabetes like 8 days before your 5th birthday isn’t good.”

Diabetes isn’t a very common disease. Forty-thousand people are diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes each year, some of them classified as juvenile diabetics because they were diagnosed as young children. In 2006, Chemelewski was one of them, at the age of four. Juvenile diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Chemelewski has to balance his sugar levels to keep him healthy, and if he gets too high or too low it’s bad for his health and can be dangerous. He had to check his sugar levels by pricking his fingers and drawing blood. When he was young, he had to give himself 5 shots of insulin a day to keep him going.

“I’m not going to say that I enjoy living with diabetes because sometimes it messes with my life, like it can prevent me from running, but there are much worse diseases and my parents and I always like to think that I am lucky because I have always had the best doctors and I get to eat snacks full of sugar,” said Chemelewski.

One of the problems with dealing with diabetes is that Chemelewski can’t have energy whenever he wants to, and sometimes when he would want to hang out with friends and have fun, he had to stop because he wasn’t feeling well due to his diabetes.

“Sometimes his diabetes was noticeable when hanging out with him because his sugar would go down and become low and then we would have to go inside so he could get some snacks and get it back up,” said childhood friend Nathan Macha.

Now, Chemelewski has stopped taking shots and he has a continuous glucose monitor, which is a pod on his arm that connects to his phone and checks how much sugar is in his blood so he doesn’t have to prick himself. This has allowed him to have more freedom during the day to do the activities that he wants to. He plans to continue running in his free time when he can to stay active and continue living a great life despite his diabetes.