NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Most 12-year-old boys like to run around outside, ride their bicycles, play games, or whatever their hobby-of-the-moment might be. Vincent Harrer is no different, expect he has other responsibilities to take care of before he can do those things, and if he neglects them, it could send him to the hospital. Vincent has juvenile diabetes, a diagnosis he admits was difficult at first because he didn’t understand it, but he says he’s used to it now. “It’s definitely made me more responsible in many different ways. Now I know what to do and I’m more responsible because of diabetes”, explained Vincent.
He speaks well for anyone, especially a middle school student, as he describes his involvement with the American Diabetes Association and the Tour de Cure. “I’ve kind of represented it for the last couple of years. It’s a good event for kids to go to so they can see what they’re not alone and many people are trying to put a stop to diabetes”, Vincent said.
Children typically have Type 1 diabetes, but adults who get the diagnosis usually have Type 2, which was the case for Lisa Centrone. She was diagnosed in 2014, and it came as a shock. She said, “A lot of people that do get diagnosed with pre-diabetes or early onset diabetes are overweight. They’re unhealthy, they don’t exercise, and I’m the exact opposite. to come down with this diagnosis is very eye-opening to realize how unhealthy I actually was”.
The only sign for Lisa came during her pregnancy with her first child, when she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, but she was strict with her diet and her baby was born perfectly healthy. The diagnoses has changed not only her habits, but her family’s. “We go to parties and I used to bring this big chocolate cake dessert, but now you get some sort of healthy dessert made with Splenda or something. It’s changed what I eat, what my husband eats, and what my kids eat”, she explained.
Centrone works for Geico at the corporate office in Getzville, and her company is a sponsor of the Tour De Cure this year. She says that kind of support is priceless.
She and Vincent are both “red riders” in the Tour de Cure, which means they ride with diabetes, and seeing all of the red jerseys around them at the starting line in downtown Niagara Falls gives them both a sense of belonging. They agree it shows anyone with the disease, they’re not alone.