On June 3, 2000, Kristina and Tracy Yanske welcomed their son, Dylan, at Blank Children's Hospital. Dylan was a little over two months early and weighed only two pounds six ounces. Because of his extreme prematurity, Dylan spent two and a half months in the NICU.
"Seeing Dylan hooked up to so many monitors and knowing there is nothing you can do is every parent's nightmare," Kristina, Dylan's mom, said. "Dylan's doctors and nurses were amazing! They didn't treat him as just another patient, they really cared."
Fortunately, Dylan had no major complications, but in 2007, Dylan encountered another obstacle - he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, a disease in which there are high levels of glucose, or sugar, in the blood.
"It was very difficult for a first grader to understand why this was happening to him," Kristina said. "Being the only kid in his elementary school with diabetes, he has struggled with feeling different from other kids."
Although not easy, Dylan adapted right away and soon was checking his blood sugar by himself. In just two weeks, he was even administering his own insulin injections.
Despite all Dylan has faced, he has not let it keep him from doing what he loves. The 11-year-old remains active in basketball, cub scouts and soccer while actively monitoring advancements toward a cure for diabetes.
"Every time a commercial comes on or he sees an article or book about diabetes, it gets his attention," Kristina said. "He tries to keep tabs on what's new in the way of diabetes management and finding a cure."
Dylan also shares his experience with diabetes with others to spread awareness of the disease.
"He helps educate other children as well as adults on diabetes," Kristina said. "He has inspired others by not letting his medical conditions get in his way of achieving his dreams or goals. He doesn't let his diabetes control him, he controls his diabetes."