After a diabetes diagnosis, an Oahu 3rd grader raises thousands for fight to find a cure

Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 4:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eight-year-old Emily Kawamura is a poster child for meeting the challenges of living with diabetes.

She was diagnosed just recently.

One day in March, she started feeling very sick.

“I threw up in my mom’s bed,” she said.”She took me to the hospital for four days, and then I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.”

Type 1 diabetics produce little to no insulin on their own.

Emily quickly learned about diabetes and how to manage her condition.

“Soon she started understanding counting carbs and figuring out your insulin dose, things like that,” said her mother, Maile.

“If my blood sugar is really low I might sleep for a long time,” Emily said. “Or if my blood sugar is really high I just have to drink water.”

And she has jumped into the fight against diabetes.

“When I came home I really wanted to raise money and find a cure. So my mom said there’s this walk,” she said.

With her parents’ help, she’s raising funds for American Diabetes Association of Hawaii’s walk on May 22. So far she has raised more than $8,000, making her the top fundraiser in the nation.

“It’s pretty cool,” she said.

“She decided, ‘I’m going to live with this the rest of my life. I’m going to find out all I can. And I’m going to fight to find a cure,’” said Lorraine Leslie, American Diabetes Association of Hawaii’s executive director.

Emily is still active in dance and other activities, but she now has to have her emergency pack ready.

“I give myself shots, not often but sometimes. And then I prick my finger to test the blood,” she said.

“I’m very surprised at how she has adapted to the lifestyle change. I’m pretty amazed,” said her dad, Toby.

Emily wants parents to know how to spot the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes in their own kids.

“Getting really tired, sudden weight loss, using the bathroom a lot, and drinking lots of water,” she said.

Emily is the youngest of three sisters and a third-grader at Mid-Pacific Institute. Her new normal hasn’t slowed her down at all.

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