GARWIN - Nine-year-old Owen Collins of Garwin may have diabetes, but he doesn't let it control his life.
Collins, a third grader at GMG Elementary School, is the son of Diana and Kendall Collins. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at the age of 2.
"He was drinking twice as much water as normal before we found out he had diabetes," Diana Collins said. "When he was diagnosed it was very scary to start with."
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Diana Collins pricks the finger of her 9-year-old son Owen to get blood to check his blood sugar in their Garwin home Thursday. Owen has Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes.
It seems even at a young age, Owen has taken a mature approach to having diabetes. Diana said her son has said several times that diabetes is not going to stop him from doing what he wants to do.
"He's been good with it all along and he's had a really good attitude," Diana said. "I'm proud of him and I'm very proud of his attitude."
Collins has his finger pricked for blood 10 to 12 times a day then enters blood sugar information into a pump which can provide insulin into his system through a tube. The tube is connected to the fatty tissue on the side of his abdomen. All of this work doesn't seem to bother Owen.
"I can manage it - and when you manage it - you can live a normal life," Owen said.
And a normal life for this active youngster includes riding dirt bikes and snowboards.
Just because he's learned to live with diabetes doesn't mean he is not fighting for a cure. For years, Owen has been raising money for the JDRF and taking part in the annual benefit walk in Des Moines. He will again take part in the walk this year, which is Feb. 16 in the skywalk.
"It's a lot of fun," he said.
He will raise money prior to the walk through monetary donations and there are also places people can drop off their empty pop cans in Garwin at the four-way stop.
To donate visit www.jdrf.org/walk and enter Owen Collins and Iowa or make a check payable to JDRF and send to Diana Collins, 308 Rider St., Garwin, IA 50632. Last year, the Collins family raised $5,683 for the cause.
Owen has a message for other kids who may have been diagnosed with diabetes.
"If you have it, you're not different from everybody else," he said.