2017 TJ-JL Foundation Youth Ambassador Colin Parke Gervasio

Colin Parke Gervasio
Date of Birth: December 2, 2009
Date of Diagnosis: July 16, 2016

Colin is an active seven year old who enjoys school—well mainly recess, some math and playing with friends in the after-care program. He plays soccer, basketball, and lacrosse on the weekends and after school. Like many first graders, he also likes to ride his bike, ice skate and, of course, zone out on the iPad. Colin’s diabetes story started on July 16, 2016 when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.


The Diagnosis

Colin’s story is quite typical of how other kids are diagnosed. It all started earlier that July week with Colin saying his tummy ached and he was tired. He stayed home from camp that day and grandma watched him. We thought it was just a stomach bug. He was lethargic that day and by the next day was drinking one liquid after the other. At the time, we didn’t realize that extreme thirst is a sign of diabetes. We began to think it was heat exhaustion since he was in an all-day, outside camp and it was the hottest week of the summer so far.


After three days of staying home from camp and seeing the drastic change in Colin’s appearance, my husband and I knew this was not a stomach bug or heat exhaustion. Colin had lost about nine pounds. With diabetes running in Jeff’s family, he googled the symptoms like he normally does when someone in the house is ill. He showed me the list of symptoms … and he waited for me to say “You’re being ridiculous, stop goggling stuff,” which is what I’d normally do when he’s self-diagnosed himself or one of the kids. I simply said “that’s it.” It didn’t take long for us to realize he needed to go to the ER. As Colin and I drove to Shady Grove Hospital, I held out some hope that maybe we were jumping to conclusions. Within 30 minutes of arriving at the hospital, Colin was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and within 2 hours we were in a helicopter to Children’s Medical Center.


Living with Diabetes

Not knowing much about diabetes, our biggest concern was, first, Colin’s health and, second, could he continue to do all the things that he loves to do. In just a short time, we learned just how strong Colin is. He’s managing the diabetes fairly well and still plays all the sports he did before. He takes time to explain to friends why he tests his blood sugar or gets an insulin shot before a meal. As the only kid with diabetes at his elementary school of 900 children, he rarely questions “why me?” He is more interested in getting through lunch so he can go to recess and play with his friends. Colin’s three-year old sister, Claire, often asks when Colin’s diabetes will go away and we explain that perhaps in his lifetime there will be a cure, but we that we want to ensure that we help Colin to manage it. As a family we are on a journey to learn more about diabetes so that we can ensure Colin continues to lead a healthy and active life.