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TOWNSEND — Tyler Bousquet of Townsend was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was in kindergarten. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.

Sufferers of Type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. Having Type 1 diabetes increases the risk for many serious complications including heart disease, blindness, nerve damage and kidney damage.

Tyler, son of Velma and Kevin Bousquet, is now eight years old. None of his other family members, including siblings Brett and Jessica, have diabetes. When asked what his initial symptoms were, Tyler stated he was always extremely thirsty and he would urinate frequently.

“It was April vacation and my friend Jaima was over with her kids and Tyler kept coming in every two minutes for something to drink,” said Velma.

Jaima told Velma that those were the same signs her son had when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. They called their family doctor and had a urine test which revealed he indeed had Type 1 diabetes.

Tyler was admitted to Children’s Hospital where there was another girl three doors down from Townsend, who had been admitted that same day with Type 1 diabetes. The doctors needed to get his blood glucose level under control and also teach his parents how to care for him. Tyler initially received three injections of insulin to get his levels where they need to be. Tyler would get a finger prick 10 times a day to check blood sugar levels.

Tyler just recently went on an insulin pump.

“We wanted him to be mentally ready for this” said Velma. “It’s attached to your body 24 hours a day. When Tyler was first diagnosed, he had to wear a bracelet that says he’s diabetic and that seemed to bother him more because he stood out, but he seems to be adjusting well to the pump.”

Tyler goes into Children’s Hospital every three months to have his glucose levels tested. Since April, he’s been checked twice and his levels have been perfect, said Velma.

Because of Tyler’s condition, the Bousquet family abides by a low carbohydrate diet.

“I think people think if it’s sugar-free you can eat it, but sugar-free ice cream has just as many carbohydrates as regular ice cream. We count his carbohydrates now, especially with the pump, we check his levels and enter the blood glucose number into the pump and then enter the amount of carbohydrates he will eat. The device then calculates how much insulin he needs and the pump gives him the insulin needed and that will cover what he is eating. Tyler is a very active young boy and plays soccer and baseball.”

“I take the pump off when I’m playing soccer. The pump get’s in the way” said Tyler.

“Also, when he’s running around he doesn’t need as much insulin” said mom Velma.

When asked how this has affected the family, Velma said it was very hard at first. “Here I am someone who doesn’t like the sight of blood or needles and now I have to poke him and check his blood and give him a shot three times a day, but we have adjusted well.”

Tyler said on Halloween he gets to trade in all his candy and go pick out a game at Gamestop.

Tyler’s brother Brett said it has changed his life in a good way. “We make healthier choices and I want to be a medic someday.”

The Bousquet family recently participated in the “STEP OUT” walk to fight diabetes. It was held on Oct. 17 in Worcester. Team Tyler walked for three miles and raised $1,093 for the American Diabetes Association.

“It was wonderful to see so many people walking with their Red Strider hats on to show that they too, live with this disease everyday,” said Velma. “Beside them were friends and family members showing their support as well. Tyler was able to look around him and see he is not alone in this fight. A teenage girl spoke at the walk who was diagnosed when she was five and it was helpful to see how well she is doing living with diabetes.”

Team Tyler is still accepting donations until the end of the year. To make a donation, go to diabetes.org/stepout, and they can donate and search for participants (Velma Bousquet) and that will bring up the Web page.