PORT ROYAL - Luke Strawser, of Port Royal, has been living with diabetes for six years. He was diagnosed with the disease after he spent months enduring frustrating symptoms.
"I had extreme thirst, I was going to the bathroom all the time. It was getting pretty weird. I thought I was growing, but the symptoms just increased in severity and I knew something had to be done," he said.
Strawser said he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Jan. 2, 2008.
Luke Strawser and his girlfriend of three years, Jamie Lopez, have started training for the Three Creek Century Ride in Carlisle, and so far have been able to bike 10 miles.
According to the The American Diabetes Association, in Type 1 diabetes the body does not produce insulin - a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.
"My blood sugar was 348 (mg/dl). A normal blood sugar is supposed to be from 70 to 150," he said.
In some cases, once patients are diagnosed they are admitted to the hospital in order to get their blood sugar levels back into normal range. However, Strawser was spared a hospital stay and had to go to outpatient treatment for a few days.
"I went for a few days, where they taught me how to check my blood sugar, they taught me how to inject insulin. I had to give myself two different types of insulin and had to give it to myself a minimum of four times a day," he said.
Diabetes is something Strawser will live with for the rest of his life, and he admits his disease gets tiresome to deal with.
"I think the thing I would want people to know the most about Type 1 diabetes is that it doesn't take a day off. It's just become a part of my life. There are times when it gets old," he said.
His mother became a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation soon after Strawser's diagnosis. For years, Strawser has gotten pamphlets about the different types of events the JDRF sponsors, but this year he finally decided to participate in one.
"(JDRF) holds athletic events all across the country to raise money. I felt for a long time that I should do something to give back to the community, whether that be through education or through raising money for research," he said.
The Three Creek Century Ride will be held on Sept. 21 in Carlisle and is organized by the local chapter of the JDRF. Along with his girlfriend, Jamie Lopez, of Mifflintown, he will take part in the 25-mile course. It will be the first bicycle race for both of them. Lopez decided to participate with Strawser because she wanted to support her boyfriend.
"I decided to do this because I was ignorant to what Type 1 diabetes was. Luke really educated me on it. I thought it would be fun to do it with Luke, to not only educate people, but to raise money for research," Lopez said.
The couple recently started training for the event, and Strawser said they are making good progress.
"We are trying to ride every other day until the event. We are just sort of adding distance whenever we feel comfortable. The longest we have ridden together is about 10 miles," he said.
Strawser and Lopez both have a fundraising goal of $1,000. To donate to their team contact Strawser at 513-3023 or go online to www.centralpa.jdrf.org.