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Teen Fights Back Against Diabetes by Educating Others

Published On: Apr 08 2014 06:45:00 PM AKDT

She's been helping others since she was four-years-old. Our next Fund the Future winner Anchorage's Emily Brown has been living with type one diabetes. She has turned her fight against the disease into a mission to give back to others in need.


If you wrote a Haiku poem about Emily Brown, it might go something like this:

Giving of herself,

A winner in the classroom,

Brown will overcome.

"I'm a good person in this community," Brown said.  "I'm nice, I'm beautiful and independent."

Being independent is an understatement for the 14-year-old. Since she was diagnosed with type-one diabetes at the age of three, Emily has quickly learned how to take care of herself.

"At three-and-a-half she was introduced to poking her fingers several times a day and insulin shots several times a day and very rarely did she get scared or cry when she went to the doctor," said Emily's mom, Jennifer Brown. "She knows she's got to check her sugars and watch what she eats."

Having to deal with the disease every day is not stopping Emily from enjoying life and helping others. 

"All my life, I feel, like it's harder than normal kids who don't have diabetes," Brown said.

From the Boys and Girls Club to her West High ninth grade English class, she's one determined young lady -- just ask her friend Cybil Arzt who also has diabetes.

“Today I wasn't feeling well; she was like ‘Are you okay? Check your blood sugar,’” said Arzt. "I was like ‘I don't have my stuff,’ she was like ‘It’s okay use mine.’”

Emily says she knows what a good deed is and I feel like I have done a good deed. One of those deeds is through the annual Tour De Cure, a biking event that benefits the American Diabetes Association. 

As a member of Team Emily since she was four, Emily has raised over $7,000.

"It's very important for me that we try to find a cure, because it’s not the easiest thing to go through," Emily said. 

Those around her understand and appreciate Emily’s dedication.

"She is one of those people who has a heart a mile wide, and once she decides that something good ought to happen, it’s going to happen," said Barbara Clark, Emily's English teacher. "I really hope I know what that kid is doing when she is 40; I bet it’s going to be something amazing." 

It is perseverance and commitment that Emily says defines who she is, because it doesn't matter what's in her way. She's going to overcome it. 

"My mom always told me just keeping biking, just like keep swimming from Finding Nemo,” Emily said. “So whenever I feel like I want to give up I just say keep biking, just keep biking.” 

After high school Emily wants to go to school at New York University and major in business and fashion. 

In the meantime, she will continue raising money and biking in the Tour De Cure event every June.