Back to Kids' Voices Rachel Knight

Summer usually means sleeping in and relaxing for teenagers. For Rachel Knight in San Jose this was only partially true. She was able to sleep in, thanks to her Minimed 507C pump, but relaxing was not what she spent her summer doing. Having diabetes does not stop her. She is very involved in school being in school bands, clubs, sports and marching band. For exercise and stress relief Rachel started doing karate shortly after attending the Orlando 2001 CWD conference. Since she does not do anything with less than a full commitment, she jumped in with both feet and both arms.

During the spring she went to several tournaments that qualified her for a couple of national tournaments. This summer the national finals for the USA National Karate-Do Federation (USA-NKF) were held in San Jose at the end of July. During June and July she was in intense training for the USA-NKF tournament. She would go to her karate dojo nearly every day to practice. During the two weeks before the tournament her practices lasted 3 to 4 hours a night, sometimes not getting home until after 11 pm.

Her hard work paid off. Besides spending lots of time with her karate friends, she earned gold medals (1st place) for the 17-year-old novice division (performing karate for less than 2 years) in kumite (fighting), short weapons, and long weapons. She earned a silver medal (2nd place) in the kata category. Having diabetes only slowed her down slightly during the tournament. The pump came unclipped from the gi pants and fell to the floor, breaking off the top of the reservoir neck. After a quick set change all was back to normal. (At the spring tournament the pump was even a conversation starter with some of the other participants.)

Rachel does not let diabetes stop her from what she wants to do. If anything she is even more involved in activities than she was before. She is staying active in karate. She is also a member of IDYA as well as currently being in piano and 4 of the bands at Leigh High School, the most demanding being the Marching Band and the Wind Ensemble. The Marching Band will be rehearsing (19-20+ hours a week) and performing in several competitions this fall. The Wind Ensemble will be attending an international music competition in Hawaii this coming spring. This will be a very busy senior year. She plans to double major in music and history in college so she can teach high school music.

You can write to Rachel at bunnywithabo[@] and she'll try to write back as soon as she can.

Rachel showing her awards

Published September 14, 2003

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