Amir Agemy: 2024 Riley Champion
Imagine having a disease you can never stop thinking about. “There is no vacation from diabetes,” says Nadine Haddad, M.D., a pediatric endocrinologist at Riley Children's Health. “Diabetes is non-stop.”
Dr. Haddad cares for 13-year-old Amir Agemy, who has type 1 diabetes. His life is a careful balancing act between his blood sugar and the food he eats. He’s learned to monitor himself and inject insulin when needed.
Amir’s diagnosis at age 5 came as a shock. “We felt like the world had crushed us,” said his father Samer. “I was coaching t-ball. Amir became lethargic. We took him to his primary care doctor who said, ‘Take him to the ER now.’ ” In a matter of days, the family's world turned upside down with a diagnosis of diabetes.
Today, he is in the eighth grade at Barker Middle School in Michigan City. His favorite class is Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, commonly known as STEM. Here, he excels. He loves working with his hands and putting things together.
Dr. Haddad has a gentle influence on Amir. She had been encouraging him to try the Dexcom 7, which is a device inserted just underneath the skin to monitor glucose levels. It eliminates intermittent testing throughout the day. Recently, he agreed.
“I was excited he decided to try the Dexcom! Amir is quiet and shy; a bit more resistant to change than some kids,” said Dr. Haddad. But he’s doing so well managing his disease.
“Underneath the shyness, he’s pretty regimented.”
That type of control is precisely what one needs to manage diabetes. Amir’s personality may just be his secret to living with this disease as successfully as he does. He’s thoughtful and methodical with a quiet resiliency. Back that up with family members and his Riley physicians who are dedicated to his health, and Amir has a bright future.
“We’re so proud of Amir,” said Kim, Amir’s mom. “He handles all of this so well.” Kim is right. When you think about all the normal changes and challenges a 13-year-old experiences, then add constant disease management on top of that, the word “champion” takes on a whole new meaning.