Ozarks Life: Young author helping kids with diabetes
Ellie Rowe wrote a book to share her experience with type one diabetes.
GREENE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - At Willard Orchard Hills Elementary, there are plenty of books to check out in the library.
On this day, librarian Trishna Rosebrogh has an author stopping by to read her book. It has everything. Pain, confusion, sadness, and in the end, triumph.
The author, 14-year-old Ellie Rowe, is just a little older than her second-grade audience. Ellie’s book is “Type One Diabetes - A to Z.” The alphabet book helps its readers, mainly kids, understand the disease.
F is for fatigue. M is for meter. P is for pump.
She was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was her audiences’ age, eight.
“I didn’t know what that word meant,” Ellie recalled. “I just knew it’s something bad if the doctor sounds nervous.”
Eventually, through hard work, Ellie and others turn the page on their disease. They learn how to live and thrive with it. That is unless your fourth-grade teacher wants you to write an assignment on it.
“I just kind of wanted to get the grade and go to recess,” Ellie said. “I was in fourth grade. But then we thought, ‘oh, let’s try to publish this because this could really help someone.’ Because when I was diagnosed, I didn’t have anything like this. I didn’t have a book.”
For kids, and all of us, the unknown can be scary. So this book was a way to help the newly diagnosed, and their friends and family, understand what type one diabetes is.
That’s why Rosebrough set up this reading. She too was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was in elementary school.
“When you’re diagnosed,” Rosebrough said, “they might not even know what the word diabetes means. Or the difference between type one or type two. And there’s hundreds of other words that you need to understand before you can leave the hospital.”
“There was a diabetic coming to the school,” third grader Gibson Davis remembered with joy.
He listened to Ellie read her book last year in the same library.
“Why was that important for you?,” Chad Plein asked Gibson.
“Because I was also type one,” Gibson said.
Gibson had just recently been diagnosed when Ellie came last year. And now he sees things can be okay. As Ellie puts it, diabetes is only a limitation if you make it one. Gibson now has his sights set on being a pro baseball player.
“Who is your favorite player?” Plein asked.
“Jordan Hicks,” Gibson said.
“Because you want to throw a fastball 106 miles an hour and why else?” Plein responded.
“Because he’s also type one,” Gibson answered.
Now a freshman at Central High School in Springfield, Ellie’s not sure what the next chapter in her life will be. Maybe another book.
“Maybe for middle schoolers or high schoolers,” Ellie said. “I don’t really know for sure. I’m kind of just trying to survive high school at this point.”
Some proceeds of the book go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It helps kids living with diabetes and hopes to find a cure.
The day this story aired on KY3 was Ellie’s “diaversary.” That’s the anniversary of her diagnosis six years ago. Every year on that day, she comes up with a unique way to celebrate her life.
You can read more about Ellie’s journey and learn more about type one diabetes by clicking here to visit her website, The Helpful Type.
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