Young girl learning to overcome Diabetes

By Jennifer Serda - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Diabetes is a growing problem that affests 23.6 million Americans. Some are born with diabetes and for others it develops over time. It changes everything for the individual battling it and for their family.

McKinley Heil, also known as Mac, knows what it's like to overcome diabetes. In many ways, she is like any other 10-year-old girl, but behind her smile and energy is a girl living with Type 1 Diabetes.

"We deal with life and death things everyday; so at 5, 6, 7, 8 they understand that their body is not bullet proof like kids grow up thinking," Mac's father told WTOC.

Everyday Mac faces needles, glucose checks and insulin injections to stay healthy and keep her sugar in check.

Mac's pancreas creates no insulin, which is used to get nutrients from the food we eat into our cells. By using the latest technology, Mac is able to keep her numbers in check but it often comes at a painful price.

"She gets a needle in there on her continuous glucose monitor. She has her censor on her back side right here, you can see the bump that goes in, it has about a half inch needle," said Mac's father.

Hopefully, one day needles will be a thing of the past thanks to events that raise awareness and funding for Diabetes research, like the Sunsplash Outdoor Fitness Festival.

"Obviously we are always hoping for a cure and insulin is not a cure all insulin does is allow us to get through life day to day where as a cure would be where she does not have to worry about the things we have to worry about basically very second of the day," said Mac's father.

To help find a cure, the American Diabetes Association is hosting the Sunsplash Outdoor Fitness Festival where you can walk, bike or hike for a cure this Saturday on Skidaway Island.

To learn more about the events going at the Sunsplash Fitness Festival, visit

This year, WTOC is forming is team and everyone is invited to join. [Join team WTOC]

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