Natalie Bolton


Natalie Bolton

20 years old

T1D for 6 years

One of my favorite hobbies is hiking and backpacking. However, after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the spring of 8th grade, casual hikes and camping trips took on a whole new level of complexity. Now when packing for a trip, I need to factor in space for boxes of blood glucose test strips, well-insulated insulin (gotta protect those proteins from the burning sun), and snacks upon snacks amidst my Nalgene and extra layers. I might occasionally gripe about my slightly bulkier backpack, but T1D hasn’t slowed my pace otherwise – I’ve been leading and participating on backpacking trips throughout high school and college (just got back from the Grand Canyon, actually!), and am planning an adventure to Canada at the end of the summer. Thanks to my T1D, I’ve actually received a rather fitting trail-name, “Pooh Bear”, because to treat my low blood sugars during hikes, I squeeze honey straight out of the bear-shaped container into my mouth.

I’m always grateful for my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor, but they are even more of a game-changer in a backcountry setting. For one, being able to see the trends in my blood sugar provides peace of mind, and I no longer spend my time in the woods completely distracted by the uncertainty of what may be going on with my body.  I can’t wait to see what incredible, life-altering technology comes out next!