Teen health advocate from Guthrie is diagnosed with diabetes

Mason Harvey, 13, of Guthrie, OK, heralded for losing weight and promoting a healthy lifestyle, will now advocate for diabetes awareness and care, said his mother. Harvey, who lost 85 pounds in 2011, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes Saturday.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: January 8, 2013
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A Guthrie teen who became a poster child for weight loss after dropping 85 pounds two years ago is now facing an unexpected health hurdle — diabetes.


Mason Harvey, 13, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes Saturday after being rushed to an emergency room the day before with what his parents initially thought was a simple stomach virus.

Harvey made local headlines last year after losing weight and then pushing his friends, family — anyone who would listen — to reconsider their own food intake and lifestyles.

His “Strive for 85” campaign has drawn accolades from as far away as the White House, where first lady Michelle Obama last Easter praised him for his work.

“We could have understood when he was heavy in the sixth grade getting diabetes, but he didn't present the signs of having it then,” his mother, Julie Harvey, said on Monday. “Even doctors are not sure when it might have started developing.”

Mason Harvey came home sick from a New Year's Eve party earlier in the week, but what his mom and dad thought was a simple stomach bug grew more serious as the days progressed.

On Friday, Mason's older brother told their mother Mason was breathing funny, so she got him an appointment at the doctor's office where she works the front desk.

Disease is puzzling

The doctor's suspicions checked out when Mason's blood glucose level turned out to be dangerously high.

He spent the night and most of Saturday in intensive care as doctors worked to stabilize his glucose levels, and most of Sunday and Monday learning how to manage his new condition.

“We were just floored because we were like, how could a child that has been for the last two years pushing health and being active and being so good develop this?” Julie Harvey said.

Easy, said Dr. Jeannie Tryggestad, a pediatric endocrinologist at Harold Hamm Diabetes Pediatric Clinic. Type 2 diabetes is the variety that is commonly developed by people who are overweight; Type 1 develops for completely different — if not misunderstood — reasons, she said.

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