Kylee McManis Interview by Zoey Joseph Nomination & Photography by Alyssa Chappell Photography Florida Issue 15
The Nomination: Kylee is a type one diabetic, which is a life-threatening disease that can be very difficult to live with. Living with this disease can be a daily struggle, the responsibility, and the discipline that she must have for a "normal life" is great and can be hard to maintain at times. In a recent session with Kylee, she proudly displayed her Dexcom CGM device, it really made an impact on some of my viewers and hopefully will give others her age the encouragement they needed to not be embarrassed of who they are. Over the years, I have watched Kylee grow into a very beautiful, strong, smart young woman! I look forward to seeing her grow as an adult and see how she touches others and helps them grow with type one diabetes.
Do you think growing up with type one diabetes has changed you in good ways or bad? I think it has 100% changed me. Bad because sometimes, especially when I was first diagnosed, and I was sick, it would keep me from doing normal things that all my friends were doing. Even now that can happen occasionally. But also, good because it has made me more independent and responsible and stronger than some other kids my age.
For readers that might not be familiar with a Dexcom CGM device, can you explain what it is and what it does? I wear a Dexcom CGM G6 to continuously monitor my blood sugar without having to prick my finger to draw blood and use a blood sugar meter. The Dexcom is amazing and has made managing my diabetes so much easier. You can see the trending blood sugar in real time right on your phone. I can catch it before it gets too high or too low. It has helped me a lot! Also, I can share my readings with my mom my doctor wirelessly!!!! It is really a great tool for diabetics and has made it easier to manage.
Tell me a little bit about how you have been able to maintain a mainly "normal life" Is there anyone that has really helped you along the way? My mom has been the number one person that has always helped me through this. She’s been my guide along the journey with all the ups and downs, and when I wanted to give up, she was there to help me make it through and give me the encouraging words that I needed to hear to pick myself back up and push forward.
What are some of the activities or after school clubs you are involved in? Does your disease get in the way of them? Cheerleading for two years. There were times that I would have to sit out until my sugar leveled back out. It is something that I always have to be aware of and be PREPARED for. I have to have things with me to eat or drink for emergencies if it went low during a game or even just at school, or driving, or anything really. I even have to carry an emergency shot called glucagon that is needed in an emergency situation. There have been a couple times where I have had miss work because of my blood sugar. I have apart time job at our local hardware store. :)
Is there any advice you would like to give to other viewers of the magazine that might be struggling with the same or similar diseases?? It’s hard, living with a life-threatening disease and its especially hard during the teenage years. But it will get easier, and at the end of the storm there is a rainbow. I know it’s difficult when you feel so different from everyone else. You feel like you just need a break! Don’t give up. There is so much exciting technology that we have seen in just the past few years helping to make our lives more normal. Each time you have a rough day or week, just know you will come out stronger on the other end. And know you are not alone, and maybe by just showing your strength and your courage you could help someone else that’s feeling the same as you do. You could help them feel stronger and proud of themselves too!
I really admire your ability to keep true to yourself and not let diabetes take you down. Not only that, but from what I have heard, you seem like an amazing person with a strong ability to influence. Do you think you would ever want to speak publicly about the challenged and what you have done to help overcome them? Thank you, Zoey,! That’s sweet of you to say! And yes! I would love to help others overcome challenges they may be experiencing and talk to others about experiences I’ve had that may help them relate.
Kylee was featured in Issue 15 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.
Summer Steele Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Photography by Alyssa Chappell Photography. Florida Issue 15
The Nomination: I have known Summer for years and it was such an honor to be able to photograph her for her senior year. I am nominating Summer for the inspiring teen athlete because of her love for her horse. Riding horses, taking care of all the animals, and living on farm land is a lot of hard work. Summer loves spending time with all of her animals from her precious dog Jake to her horse Yager. Yager is approximately 10 years old they have had him about five years Summer's uncle adopted him from the mustang round up auction in Ocala. Yager was a bottle baby that was separated in the round up out west and adopted at an auction. Yager has a tattoo on his neck that signifies a mustang.
Hi my name is Summer Anne Steele. I am 17 years old and a senior at Keystone Heights High School graduating with honors. I am a customer service manager at a local grocery store. I have lived in Florahome my whole life and our family lives on a 50 acre ranch we call “Chaos & Critters Ranch”. We have had many different varieties of animals: cows, horses, goats, alpacas, chickens, dogs, cats, and rabbits. I became interested in horseback riding from the time I could walk. Yager is a 10-year-old mustang that was separated from his mom in the round up in Nevada and was raised as a bottle baby. While I love horses, I love dogs just as much. I saved my money at the age of 15 and adopted my first dog, Jake from a rescue in Brooksville, FL. He is an apple head tan colored chihuahua that is absolutely spoiled rotten with a feisty attitude.
My mom says kind of like me. :) I have always enjoyed living on a farm and wouldn’t want it any other way. It is peaceful, quiet, and relaxing living in the country. My chores over the years have been feeding up the animals, filling their water troughs, giving them baths, worming the animals, bottle feeding a baby calf that was rejected, mucking out the stall, assist my mom in giving shots to the animals, collecting eggs and dragging the field with my four-wheeler. On occasion I volunteer at the local Humane Society by walking dogs and help keep our little library stocked with books in the Florahome Palmetto Park. I have always planned to become a veterinarian for small breed animals. However, I am not completely sure that is what I want to do with my life just yet. I will attend Sante Fe College this spring and then transfer to University of Florida in Gainesville.
Summer was featured in Issue 15 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.