HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A young athlete from Honolulu who is living with Type 1 diabetes says he's standing up to his disease to help make a difference for others.
Using social media to spread the word, 11-year old Maxim Speed – a sixth grader at Nimitz Elementary School – has already helped raise $100,000 for charity.
Speed says he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 7.
"Every 20 minutes, I was asking my teacher if I could go use the bathroom, so we knew something was wrong," he said.
The diagnosis created an extremely stressful time for his family as they transitioned to a life with his new condition.
"In the beginning, it was rough. You're terrified all the time," said Speed's mother, Sandra Serrano. "At night, we would have to wake up at 2 a.m. in the morning every day to make sure that his blood sugar is high enough, so he doesn't slip into a coma."
While Maxim says he's gotten used to the daily tasks of checking his blood sugar levels and watching what he eats, he says his love of soccer helps keep him healthy, focused, and determined to not to let diabetes stand in the way of his dream – playing professional soccer.
"I just have to check it at half time during a game and right before I start the game to make sure my numbers are fine before I go in," Maxim said.
Back in November, Maxim got involved with a social media campaign called the "Call of the Warrior" that was launched by Dexcom, a company that develops blood sugar monitoring products for diabetes patients.
Maxim, along with 28,000 others, posted 'Warrior Calls' that demonstrated a life without limits when living with diabetes.
"You can still do anything you want, as long as you take care of your numbers and stay healthy," he said.
The company says the campaign raised $100,000 for diabetes charities, as well as lots of awareness about a chronic disease that affects more than 30 million Americans.
"For him to be able to use something that maybe is considered a disadvantage and flip it and turn it into an advantage and educate people and kind of be a role model to other kids, I'm very proud of him," Serrano said.