Skip to content

Ryan Smolen

Ryan Smolen
United States
CROWDRISING SINCE: Feb 12, 2018
Stuff About Me:

I’m Ryan Smolen. I’m 17 years old. Big brother to 2 brothers & 3 sisters, dual -enrolled junior, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering, avid fisherman, joker,  and I love drumming & playing sax. My plan A was to be accepted into the Naval Academy to earn that engineering degree, so for my first 2 years of high school, I was climbing the ranks in NJROTC. I decided to change my path when I was told I definitely would not be permitted to serve in any branch of my great country’s military because I’m insulin dependent. 

My Type 1 diabetes journey began in early May 2015 (I was 14 years old). I had a cold I couldn’t shake & I was tired more than usual (the symptoms I see in retrospect also included drinking a lot & peeing a lot, losing weight & being grumpy). I went to the doctor who noticed my 10 lb weight loss in 8 months & asked for a urine sample...which was the clue to check my blood sugar...IT WAS 370+!!! My parents brought me to, and stayed with me in, the hospital close-by for a week while I (& they) were taught how to care for, adapt a new diet regimen & maintain a child with Type 1 diabetes. 

Some parts of my life changed in unexpected ways such as my hopes of being a Frogman, my limits in athletics- which I’m the boss at everything, seriously- my inability to gain & maintain weight, my ideas & habits about food & my sleep pattern. Even though I experienced blood sugar highs & lows while participating in marching band & competitions in NJROTC teams, I did not waiver in my commitment & dedication.  I refuse to let T1d win!  Much of my life, however, has remained the same: I’m determined not to let this pancreas failure define me! 

I wear an insulin pump that is much more enjoyable than giving myself injections- like I did for the first year. This pump keeps up with me in all my activities & is remotely controlled so giving doses of life-saving insulin is easy. My equations are programmable for meals & also if I have to correct my blood sugar between food. The pump delivers insulin on a different rate schedule while I sleep too...crazy, right? I also wear a CGM (continuous glucose monitor) that transmits my “up & down” levels so I can see a pattern. It isn’t a replacement for a blood sugar monitor, but it does show my current bs # (gives a reading every 5 minutes). I have the option to share the info through the CGM’s platform so my mom keeps an eye on it too. It allows users to set alarms for highs & lows, which can be annoying. It’s a great tool to help me be aware & help me maintain better. 

Nighttime is tough. I sleep pretty hard so I have slept through *blarring* alarms that were supposed to wake me up! I did wake up for my all-time lowest bs (praise & thanks to God): 23. That scared me & my mom. Although I woke up, walked into the living room & attempted to speak to her, the endocrinologist told us that I was actually having a small seizure. *PSA: people with Type1 can look & act fairly normal but be in serious distress. Please think about this if you ever observe a person in public*

I & my family have learned so much in 2.5 years but we certainly have more to learn. Since I will leave my parents home to begin my next phase of life soon, I’m doing all I can to learn to live with this disability (not my words, but reality is what it is). I have plans to be a husband & father some day. I’m working diligently to keep my A1C levels within the healthy range so I do not become a statistic (those are sad & eye-popping. If adolences who are diagnosed as teens do not learn to control their ##, they are usually dead by 26 years old). 

Participating in this walk will enable our family to make much-needed connections with other families in the same boat. I know of fewer than 6 young people with Type1. I am looking forward to meeting others I can relate to, ask questions about being a college student with T1 & relaxing, knowing that if my # is low someone will have a rescue snack or juice box! The funds that are raised will be directly donated to the research foundations that are working best to find a cure & in the meantime, develop better technologies to make living with Type1 even better! 

Thank you for reading this, your consideration in supporting me & most of all I would be very grateful for your prayers. 

 

VOTE

CR Impact Points

Click the VOTE button to give Ryan 100 CrowdRise Impact Points (CIPs). Vote for the Volunteers and Fundraisers that are answering the call to service, raising money for charity, and making an impact for their causes. Come back and Vote every months. CIPs can earn you the highly coveted, highly respected CrowdRise Royalty Status.

CR Impact Points

If you're seeing the grey VOTE button, you should feel great about yourself. It means you already voted for Ryan this month. Come back next month and vote again if you still love Ryan. Thanks to your vote, Ryan earned 100 CrowdRise Impact Points (CIPs). CIPs can earn you the highly coveted, highly respected CrowdRise Royalty Status.

3,750

Total Impact Points

Ryan Smolen's Fundraisers

Macey's Believers T1D Walk

Macey's Believers T1D W…

Amount Raised:

$300

 

60% Raised of $500 Goal