Justina McConnell’s diabetes journey began more than 15 years ago. Her elevated blood sugars were first discovered when she was pregnant with her first child. Even just 15 short years ago, less was known about diabetes. She was misdiagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. After her pregnancy, she was ill for many, many years. It was at the very start of her second pregnancy that her new doctor discovered her blood sugars were still extremely elevated and knew immediately it wasn’t Gestational Diabetes. Her doctor put her on insulin, and for the first time in years, she finally felt what “healthy” truly was. With her two-week-old daughter in her arms, she was officially stamped with Type 1 Diabetes.
With her newfound health, support and inspiration from her family, she started running. All of her running soon transitioned into marathons, triathlons and lots and lots of yoga. But she didn’t want to just participate; she wanted to win. It was then when she made the move from injections to insulin pump therapy. With her new competitive spirit, she quickly got the attention of multiple diabetes organizations: biking for the American Diabetes Association, running the London Marathon for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and even doing some modeling for Medtronic Diabetes.
Finally after years of hard work, she had control of her own health and felt the need to share her highs and lows of life with diabetes. With the help of her local JDRF chapter, she has led multiple diabetes-inspired speeches and support group talks. She continues to mentor and inspire both people living with diabetes and the people that love and care for them. Her goal in life is to teach people that with a little (okay, a lot of) hard work, diabetics cannot only live with diabetes, but truly thrive with it.