Facing the fight

Senior Brooke Hoenigschmidt and her battle with diabetes


Rita Hoenigschmidt

Brooke Hoenigschmidt and her friends get ready to walk for Diabetes Awareness and a cure.

Olivia Olson, Media Staff

  1. Senior Brooke Hoenigschmidt has been living with type one diabetes since the age of five.

Type one diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes,  is a disease that results in too much sugar in the blood when insulin is not produced properly by the pancreas. In the US, 1.25 million people are affected and an estimated 40,000 people are diagnosed each year according to Beyondtype1.org. 

“Living with this condition has it is ups and downs, but for the most part I have adjusted and learned how to take care of myself under the circumstances,” said Hoeningschmidt.. 

When she was in Kindergarten she started having symptoms. Her mom’s training as a physical therapist helped her  recognize that Brooke had to go to the bathroom more often and was drinking a lot of fluids.

“My mom knew the symptoms and noticed it happening more often than it should be and she was concerned,” she said.

Brooke ended up in the hospital. While she was there, they tried to get her blood sugar under control, did more tests, and helped her learn how to monitor it.

People who live with diabetes have a lot of things they need to do to manage it. Before every meal Brooke would  have to prick her finger to get a blood sample and put it into a tester strip which would then measure her blood sugar. 

“Having to do this everyday before every meal gets very frustrating and annoying.” she said.

When she returned to school, she had insulin shots that she needed after every time she ate. As a kindergartner, her parents and the school nurse administered her shots. She also had to have snacks on hand in case her blood sugar dropped. 

Fruit snacks and juice boxes became an everyday staple.

A few years later, she got an insulin pump which allows her to administer her own insulin. After eating her meals, Brooke has to give herself a pump of insulin so that her blood sugar stays stable. 

With new technology, she is now thankful that she doesn’t have to prick her finger, leaving marks. Now she can track everything with a new patch and app on her phone. 

Brooke wasn’t the only one who had to adjust when getting diagnosed with diabetes. When she was first diagnosed, her family wasn’t quite sure how to act and react when hearing the news. 

“It was an emotional day, and to this day I will never forget hearing that my little baby has diabetes,” said Rita Honigschmidt, Brooke’s mom. 

At first Brooke wasn’t completely sure what it meant to have diabetes. 

“I had no idea what I was in for,” she said. “I didn’t even know it was a disease.”

Her older sister remembers the day as well.

“I just wish that it would’ve been me over her,” said Brooke’s big sister, Britney Hoenigschmidt, who is three years older.

It took a long time for Brooke to adjust, but in the end she pushed through and tried to make the best out of the situation with the support of friends and family.  

Every year, for the past 12 years,  Brooke’s family and friends go on the Walk to Cure Diabetes which is held at the Mall of America in February. 

“You get used to it,” said Brooke, “and you become a lot stronger than you think you are.”