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Clinton’s Patrick McAllister has taken his experience as a teen diagnosed with type I diabetes and turned it into guide for other kids facing the same challenge. His first book, Highs & Lows of Type 1 Diabetes: The Ultimate Guide for Teens and Young Adults, was published last month. (Photo courtesy of Patrick McAllister )
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Patrick McAllister was closing in on his 13th birthday when he went to the doctor for a routine checkup. That routine appointment had a surprising result: Soon after he was informed he had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“I hadn’t been experiencing any of the symptoms,” says Patrick.
Ten years later, after navigating his teen years while also coping with diabetes, Patrick saw an opportunity to give some guidance to kids going through the same situation.
Patrick’s book, Highs & Lows of Type 1 Diabetes: The Ultimate Guide for Teens and Young Adults was published in February. Patrick says the book provides “tips and experiences” from someone who actually went through the things people diagnosed with diabetes go through, “as opposed to just a bunch of fact sheets.”
When asked the hardest part of being diagnosed with diabetes at a young age, Patrick replies, “Well we all went through middle school.”
Patrick says adjusting to the new constraints of the disease, on top of making friends and managing his changing body was tough.
“A lot of people don’t understand how much it affects,” says Patrick. “I think of it more of a lifestyle change,” Patrick says.
“Having support helped,” Patrick adds.
For a first-time author, and someone who is only 22 years old, the writing process was surprisingly not a stumbling block for Patrick.
“It came easy, I really enjoyed it,” Patrick says.
Patrick says the writing of the book from concept to publication took about two years. Patrick says he tried to “write what you’d want to know as a middle school or high school kid.”
Patrick admits that while his college professors might not like to hear it, he found himself procrastinating coursework to focus on writing because he was so immersed in it.
“I enjoyed seeing how much it would help people,” Patrick says. “The biggest thing for me is that I’m helping the diabetes community.”
Patrick is now a senior at St. Michael’s College in Vermont, closing in on his last few weeks of school before graduation. Patrick is a biology major and says that after some time off, his eventual plan is to go to medical school—being diagnosed with diabetes is what got him interested in the field. Patrick says he’s considering endocrinology as a specialty.
“I really find the medical route very interesting,” Patrick says.
Patrick, who grew up in Clinton, says that while his diagnosis changed his teen years, the town provided a great place for him to grow up, and that it providing him with a strong sense of normalcy. Youth soccer was a particular highlight.
“It allowed me to meet a lot of my friends,” Patrick says.
Patrick says he enjoys the “tight knit community” aspect of growing up in Clinton, where everyone gets to know each other.
“It’s like a family,” Patrick says.
In his spare time, Patrick says he still enjoys playing intramural soccer at school and watching the New York Giants.
“Not so much this year though. They’ll get back though,” Patrick laughs.
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