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Lana Chestang, Mobile's 1st ADA Red Rider Youth Ambassador
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Monday, October 06, 2014
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Lana Chestang is Mobile's first Red Strider youth ambassador

Lana Chestang is the 2014 Red Strider Youth Ambassador for the ADA Step Out Walk (Photo courtesy Debra Chestang)
by  Christie Lovvorn | Contributor
on October 03, 2014 at 8:09 AM

MOBILE, Alabama -- This summer marked the third year since 9-year-old Lana Chestang was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Her mother Debra Chestang said Lana exhibited the classic symptoms of diabetes: excessive thirst, fatigue, weight loss and irritability. When Lana arrived at the doctor's office, tests revealed her blood glucose level was in the 600s.

"Her diagnosis has been life-changing for our entire family," said Debra Chestang. "Everything requires careful thought and planning. Even a simple trip to her grandparents' house, going to school, taking a vacation, or going to a friend's house- things that most people do not think twice about are things that our family has to consider and plan for. Her blood meter and insulin have to be with her and her meals and snacks have to measured and spaced accordingly."

Chestang carefully counts the carbohydrates as she packs Lana's lunch and said she worries that any change in Lana's eating at school will result in higher or lower blood sugar levels.

Lana Chestang2.jpgLana Chestang

"Every time I want to eat something I have to prick my finger and take a shot," said Lana. "I also do not like it when people tell me that I can't have sugar. It's not true! I can eat sugar; I just have to give myself insulin. I just can't have too much. Also, one time, I fell asleep in the car on the way home and everyone kept waking me up and asking me if I was low. I didn't like that at all."

A fourth-grader this year, Lana was chosen as Mobile's first Red Strider Youth Ambassador for the Oct. 11 Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes.

"The youth ambassador is a kid that represents all kids with diabetes," said Lana. "I am the ambassador this year because I never let diabetes stop me from doing all of the things that I love. I like to play the violin, swim, cheer for my school -the Warriors, play tennis, basketball, and hang out with my friends. I am really excited about cutting the ribbon at the walk."

Lana's mom said the family became involved with the American Diabetes Association and the organization's fundraisers soon after Lana's diagnosis.

"When Lana was first diagnosed, she asked me how long she was going to have diabetes," said Debra Chestang. "I did not know how to answer a question like that. How do you explain forever to a child? How do you tell your child that there is no cure and that the shots she has been having to endure for the past few days would become an everyday part of her life? So I said, 'until we find a cure.' This is why we have gotten involved with the ADA Step Out Walk. Our family will do everything that we can to support an organization that is dedicated to finding a cure."

The Step Out walk begins at 9 am Oct. 11 at the University of South Alabama Moulton Bell Tower. Please visit to register. For more information, contact Carole Grant at 251-423-1272 or

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