Juliann Fuller has learned to live with juvenile diabetes since her diagnosis two years ago, and nothing will hold the North Columbia Elementary School second-grader back from doing everything that her peers do.
"She plays sports, does cheerleading, just finished soccer," her mother said. "She does what every other kid does; she just has to do a little extra planning."
The planning includes keeping a constant check on her blood sugar with the insulin pump she wears and knowing her limitations.
Juliann says she has learned to deal with her disease and has no plans to let it stop her from being a normal 7-year-old.
"Yeah, I'd say I'm doing pretty good," said the daughter of Grady and Stephanie Fuller, of Appling.
The insulin pump that Juliann wears helps her monitor her blood sugar. She said most of her classmates think it's cool, especially the fifth-graders who think it's a cell phone. Aside from managing her disease, Juliann does what others her age do. She enjoys swimming, having just finished the season with the Columbia County Recreation Department's Freedom soccer team, and she's a cheerleader on the Upward team at Grace Baptist Church of Evans. She has played on the Upward basketball team.
"When she was first diagnosed, we knew what we had to do," her mother said. "We included her in the decisions from the beginning and let her know she had some control. Juvenile diabetes doesn't define who she is."
Those who know Juliann say she enjoys helping others and serving as a role models for those around her.
"(She) always strives to do her best in the classroom," said Tonya Gambrell, her second-grade teacher. "She wants to excel in every subject area and always has a very positive attitude. Juliann is a role model for others to follow. She goes above and beyond what is expected."
Juliann said she likes to make people feel good.
Gambrell, who nominated her pupil for a Make Kids Count recognition, said Juliann is rarely seen without a smile on her face.
"Juliann deserves to be recognized in a special way for displaying such positive character traits and work ethic at such a young age," Gambrell said.
This week, Juliann will join her peers at North Columbia to participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Walk to Cure Diabetes. Pupils will walk during their enrichment time to raise money for research to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes.
"I tell Juliann that she might have been the cause for the walk, but it helps so many people," her mother said.
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