By Reilly Otto
Hello. My name is Reilly Otto. Ever since February 7, 2005 when I was eight years old, I have lived knowing that I would have type I diabetes for the remainder of my life. But given how unique the condition may be, it really doesn’t change much about how a person can live their life. For one, ever since I could walk by myself, I have walked with a soccer ball at my feet. Soccer is one of my most favorite passions in life and I have continued to play it to the present. Even though diabetes came into my life, it has never once side-lined me or prevented me from playing to my heart’s desires. If anything it has made me more aware of my surroundings so I wouldn’t face plant during practice or a game during a low or play sluggish and not play at my best during a high reading.
Another big part of my life comes through my scouting aspect. I became a Cub Scout in the second grade and have progressed from there to a Boy Scout where I hold the rank of a Life Scout, with Eagle Scout right after. In the troop to which I belong, we attend a campout once a month all over the state of Oklahoma, from The Great Salt Plains searching for crystals, to the Alabaster Caverns, to the Wichita Mountains for yearly hikes, and our annual float trip down the Illinois River. Even with all these vigorous activities, diabetes still doesn’t control what I do; in fact it’s the condition that has to adapt to the activities I choose to be a part of. Because of Boy Scouts I have also spent time away from home, spending a week and a half in West Virginia for the National Boy Scouts Jamboree this past July. I have camped more than 70 overnight campouts, most being remote areas combined with vigorous outdoor activities. My scouting has afforded many opportunities to me, especially planning an Eagle project at my church. On one of my 2 trips to Washington, D. C., I was inspired by the prayer labyrinth at the National Cathedral and I hope to be able to build a prayer labyrinth at my church; with adequate donations it will become a reality.
Boy Scout camps are not the only camps I’ve attended. Ever since I was 9 I have attended Camp Endres, where I have made many close friends that I couldn’t have dreamed of making anywhere else. We all have loads of fun every year with each other and we have even managed to keep in contact and make plans outside of camp.
Even as a junior at Putnam City High School, school life can become hectic and almost unbearable at times. I play soccer, I’m a part of our school’s Student Council, National Honor Society, Latin Club, and participate in Youth and Government and Model UN, as well as volunteering at my church’s Youth Group, and even then I must balance diabetes along with my homework. For the past three years even, I have run in Putnam City’s very own Cancer Classic 5K race held every year at Stars and Stripes Park. But through it all, I and so many others have been able to come out on top.
The main thing I have learned hasn’t been to just deal with what’s given to you. The main thing is that you can adjust to your new surroundings and life will be the absolute same, with just a couple of minor adjustments. I’m proof enough that one can do all things he sets his mind to and still find the energy to want to strive for more. In fact, I’ve also witnessed those taking care of themselves with their diabetes tend to become more mature and responsible earlier on than those without. All in all, diabetes has its ups and downs; but it’s up to you to make it enjoyable or not. Vive diu, et prosperabitur.