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Family Deals with Diabetes Together

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- About 225,000 Iowans are living with Diabetes. The disease affects a patient's daily life and can have devastating effects if it isn't controlled. A middle school student shared her story in honor of American Diabetes Month.

Melissa Pardock is a busy 6th Grader. "I'm involved in two choirs at church, youth group, I'm on the swim team," she says.

But, the Meredith Middle School student has to worry about more than just her books. She walks into the nurse’s office, "I'm just checking my blood sugar."

Doctors diagnosed her with Type 1 Diabetes last September after showing symptoms for about a month. "I was using the bathroom a lot. I was drinking a lot of water, and I was always kind of tired. And, those are all symptoms of Type 1," she says.

She has to prick her finger to test her blood sugar and give herself shots about four times a day. "To make sure I don't go low or to make sure I'm not really high because if I'm high that means I could have ketones, which means I have to take insulin, and if I have ketones that are too high, I could go into a coma or pass out or something really bad could happen."

Melissa has a role model to help her learn how to deal with the disease. Her dad was diagnosed when he was 22-years-old. "It's kind of become a family thing," Dan Pardock says.

"We talk about what's going on. We talk about our levels, we have contests sometimes to see who has the lowest numbers."

The two are sharing the family’s story to raise awareness. Melissa is the youth advocate for the Iowa Chapter of the American Diabetes Association. "Diabetes is a disease that a lot of people have it, but not a lot of people realize how serious it is," she says.

The Iowa chapter of the American Diabetes Association has an event coming up to raise awareness and money. It will hold a Zumbathon at the Aspen Athletic Club on Hickman Road. It's November 8 at 2 p.m. It costs $10 to participate.

Click here to learn more about the symptoms of diabetes.