Teen advocates for fellow diabetes patients

Glenbrook North sophomore Jared Kuper overcame a scary scenario at a young age. 

He was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 8 years old. He went into a diabetic coma, and when he came out, Jared realized how drastically his life would change. 

Jared soon connected with the American Diabetes Association and educated himself the best he could while his family faced increased medical bills.

“I’ve always been about education,” he said. “A big piece in teaching people how to manage diabetes is getting connected, telling as many people as you can about the disease and what the issues are, and then teaching people how to manage it.”

Fast-forward 8 years; Jared is now a huge advocate for diabetic patients on both the local and national levels. He traveled to Washington, D.C. this past spring break to ask Congress for increased funding in diabetes management and prevention. He also requested that Congress hold hearings on the increased cost of insulin.

“There’s been times where I’ve run my family into having no money in our bank account because of the amount of money I have to spend to simply stay alive,” Jared said. “Everyone understands there’s a problem with our medical care but we need to do something about it.”

Locally, he assists fellow Glenbrook North students as they're diagnosed with diabetes and recently launched his own nonprofit, The Jared Kuper Diabetes Foundation. He said his foundation will allow him to continue his mission to "Believe, Educate and Inspire."

“We’re working with a lot of people locally through Facebook and email,” Jared said. “People tell us they don’t have money for insulin so we’re trying to help those people directly. We aren’t big on the national scale yet but that’s why we’re growing. We network with people in other states. We’re going to try our best to help whoever needs help around us.”

Jared noted that Glenbrook North students and staff have in turn been supportive of his efforts.

“Glenbrook North has done a lot for me, especially when accommodating for me as a diabetic patient in school,” he said. “Teachers help me catch up on assignments and my friends have learned how to help me manage the disease.”

Jared said his closest friends even help him spread the word of his nonprofit.

“Wherever I can speak, I’d love to speak,” he said. “Getting the word out is the goal. Eventually we’re looking for the cure, but until then there’s tools that are helping people live safer lives; we just need to make sure those tools are affordable.”

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Teen advocates for fellow diabetes patients