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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

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Students overcome chronic illness

High school alone instills stress on today’s adolescents, but for those with chronic illnesses life can become complex. Diabetes and asthma are just two illnesses that have affected campus students over the years.

Since she was five, Suzie Falk, ’06, has been diagnosed with diabetes.

“Diabetes has definitely changed my life,” Falk said, “but I can’t imagine life without it. It’s always there?I try to deny it but it is still always there.”

Most children and teens with this disease have what is called Type 1 diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. It is called this because the body is missing insulin, which is required to transfer glucose to cells. Without glucose, the cells are unable to create energy.

In controlling diabetes, one must remember to keep a balanced diet and exercise daily. Also, testing blood sugar regularly and managing stress are helpful in monitoring the patient.

“I see my doctor every three months,” Falk continued. “Sometimes it can be depressing, but it’s better to know what’s going on.”

Falk is already very active in school as a freshman. She is on the leadership team and the cheer squad. Friends of Falk say she sets an example of enduring hope.

“Suzie is an awesome inspiration,” Molly Carlin, ’06, said. “She is always cheerful and it’s contagious for whoever is around.”

Although not thought of as a serious condition, asthma is just as harmful many other illnesses. Statistics show that five million people under age 18 have asthma.

According to the National Institutes of Health and the National Heart Lung Blood Institute, asthma is the leading childhood disease. Asthma can be triggered by various factors, but pediatricians agree that allergies, which are prominent in the Valley, most easily stimulate asthma.

“Removing allergens is the single most effective treatment method,” David Rosentriech MD, director of allergy and immunology at the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York, wrote. Rosentriech advises parents to “focus on keeping the bedroom as allergen free as possible” (, May 2002).

In high school, asthma affects students immensely when playing sports.

Eagles linebacker David Pohl, ’03, experienced an asthma attack in 6th grade, forcing him to quit his cross-country team.

“It was the end of practice and we were doing gassers?sprints with minute rests in between,” Pohl said. “I was trying to breath but I wasn’t getting anything.”

Now Pohl rarely struggles with asthma, despite football practices and games, and appears to have outgrown his impediment.

The administration is aware of student’s special needs and works to ensure their safety.

“Any physical disability requires special scheduling changes,” Principal Gary Schultz said. “For example, some students with asthma cannot participate in P.E. class; students with illnesses may have to go home at noon or start school in the late morning. We try to accommodate in whatever ways possible.”

For more information on diabetes and asthma, visit, and

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