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Maryland Teen Designs App To Help Families Dealing With Type 1 Diabetes


How do you think you would respond to a life-altering diagnosis? Thirteen-year-old Drew Mendelow from Gaithersburg, Md., found out this summer.

DREW MENDELOW: In September this year, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.


At the hospital, doctors told him about taking insulin, logging blood sugar levels and keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates he ate every day.

DREW: I was very overwhelmed. There was a lot of stuff to take in, like, all these numbers and all this math I had to learn.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So right there in the hospital, Drew got an idea. He already knew how to code games. So why not design a medical app that could log his diet and blood sugar levels all in one place and calculate everything for him?

DREW: And from the day I came home from the hospital, I started working on it.

INSKEEP: He named his app T1D1.

DREW: It stands for Type 1 diabetes from Day 1.

INSKEEP: And now T1D1 is available to any family dealing with Type 1 diabetes. Drew is adamant that his new app remains free.

DREW: Yeah. I'm really trying to make this app available to anyone who can't afford any of the medical supplies no matter their condition, where they are, where they live, like, any of their needs. I want to make sure everyone can really use it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Brynn Marks works at the Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Not only has her team put Drew's app through rigorous test, she's now advising her own patients' families to download T1D1.

BRYNN MARKS: Having a tool to help people as they are learning all the ins and outs of Type 1 diabetes is something that, I think, really, can empower people and help them to take control of their own diabetes management so that they can live full and happy lives.

INSKEEP: And Drew is hearing that people are.

DREW: It makes me feel really good to know that it's - the app is helping a lot of people, making their lives a lot easier. And that's also motivating me to make the app a lot better as best as I can.

INSKEEP: Thirteen-year-old Drew Mendelow, the designer behind the app T1D1, which is meant to help patients deal with Type 1 diabetes.

(SOUNDBITE OF JIM ALXNDR'S "FRUIT SALAD") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.