After living with Type 1 diabetes for 50 years, local man mentors the newly diagnosed |

After living with Type 1 diabetes for 50 years, local man mentors the newly diagnosed

Updated: February 22, 2020 01:08 PM

Every day for 50 years, Brian Dreibelbis has been pricking his finger to check his blood sugar levels.

Dreibelbis was just seven years old when he was diagnosed with type one diabetes.

"I remember going to the doctor with my mother, they poked me with a big needle, took some blood out of me," he said. "And I remember the doctor pulling mom out, and she came back, and she was crying, really bad."

After spending a week in the hospital, he went home to find his life had suddenly changed drastically.

"I didn't really have a grasp what it meant, I was in there and I didn't understand, but then once I got home the following Saturday, and I was eating this totally different diet, no more cookies, no more ice cream, no more drinking regular pop, I knew my world had changed," he said.

Over the last five decades, technology has advanced.

He takes several shots of insulin a day as he eats.

But he also wears a patch, a sensor with an attached transmitter that gives him 10-thousand monthly blood sugar readings on his phone.
He watches what he eats and exercises regularly.

"They joke with me at Lifetime that I should probably pay a mortgage each month instead of a monthly fee," he laughed. "I'm there usually 6 days a week," he laughs.

But even more important, he educates others on how to live with type one diabetes.

"Our community really surrounds people, and we help each other, we help families, that's really, really important," he said. "I would say the thing about diabetes, it's not an individual sport, this is a team sport."

After 50 years, Dreibelbis is hoping a cure is near.

"The ways we treat the disease and the tools we have are so much better than 50 years ago, I know it's not a matter of if a cure is found, it's a matter of when," he said.

On Saturday, KSTP's Chris Egert will be leading a team at the JDRF One Walk at the Mall of America. The money raised will help fund research for juvenile diabetes research. 

For more information about the JDRF One Walk, click here

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Jessica Miles

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