Diabetic toddler raises awareness of Type 1 diabetes

Grace Winston of Tampa was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during the Christmas holiday. WTSP photo
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Meet Grace Winston. She's a bubbly 2-year-old in South Tampa. She's like any other toddler -- almost.

This past Christmas, her life changed forever.

"We took her to the ER and they diagnosed her with Type 1 Diabetes," says Vivian Winston, Grace's mom.
 
While 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes, only about 5 percent are diagnosed with Type 1.

"We are essentially her pancreas. We do everything for her that her pancreas should do naturally, but we have to watch her carb intake and give her insulin shots and test her blood sugar multiple times a day," says Winston.

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While the diagnosis was tough, their Christmas holiday could have been much worse.

"If we had not recognized those signs of diabetes, Grace could have gone into a coma in her sleep and potentially passed away," says her father, Robert Winston.

Robert is also a Type 1 diabetic, which means they knew what signs to look for.

Some of the symptoms Grace was having were extreme thirst, mood swings and increased urinating.
 
Three months later, barely 2 years old, Grace has adjusted better than anyone.

She knows how to pull out her tools and check her blood sugar on her own, with mom and dad's supervision of course.

"We give her the independence of, she can do this and she has taken ownership of it," says Vivian.

This weekend, the Winstons are participating in the JDRF One Walk in Tampa to help raise funds and awareness for a cure. The walk starts at 9 a.m. Saturday April 2, at Amalie Arena.