Child's Plague: Inside the Boom in Childhood Diabetes
When 7-year-old Gus Ramsey of Weston, Massachusetts, was found to have type 1 (juvenile) diabetes in September 2007, it seemed mere coincidence that Grayson Welo, age 6 and living around the corner, had been diagnosed with the same disease a few months before. After all, type 1 was considered rare—only about 15,000 new cases were diagnosed annually in the United States at the beginning of the decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At least Gus’s parents could be reassured that they lived in a healthy community: Weston, population 11,134, is the wealthiest town in the state, with three golf courses, 13 soccer fields, 19 baseball diamonds, and not a single fast-food restaurant.
Yet two months after Gus’s diagnosis, another child, Natalia Gormley, was found to have the disease on her tenth birthday. She lived on the other side of town. In January 2008 12-year-old Sean Richard was diagnosed. He lived less than a mile away. Then 8-year-old Finn Sullivan became the fifth case of type 1 diabetes diagnosed in Weston in less than a year. He lived on Gus’s block, just six doors down. And the cases kept on coming. Six-year-old Mya Smith, from nearby Wellesley, received the diagnosis in April. On June 15 came the jaw-dropper, when Walker Allen was diagnosed. His father, basketball star Ray Allen, scored 26 points two nights later in game six of the NBA Finals to give the Celtics their first championship in 22 years. Far more notable was Walker’s age: just 17 months.
Weston’s school nurses had never seen anything like it. There were now ei Continue reading