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Kootenai High School senior Naccarato learns to be go-getter, to be strong in face of juvenile diabetes

By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

Diagnosed with Type-1 diabetic at age 5, Desmond Naccarato has learned how to manage the autoimmune disease.

Since there is no cure, Naccarato will live with it for the rest of his life.

But that doesn’t mean he is defined by it, nor does it mean that it can control him.

“I have tried to from day one say, ‘Yeah, this does suck, and that’s OK to have those days where it’s just a horrible, horrible day,’ ” his mother Lacey Bohannon said. “If you need to take a couple hours, take a couple hours, but then you pull yourself up by the britches, and you move forward. And that’s what he’s done. He is, instead of letting diabetes control him, he controls diabetes.”

Sometimes it forces him to miss school or a class here and there, but that too is an opportunity for him to take responsibility to excel in his classes.

“It is something that he has struggled with his entire career here,” Kootenai High School counselor Katie Ames said. He really had to push himself to get to where he is now and to graduate.”

The inconvenience extends to his extra curriculars such as wrestling, cross country and track – sports he was hesitant to do until his mother said he had to do a sport – for which Naccarato is thankful . He enjoys track most, focusing on shot put and pole vault.

“When it comes to sports, it makes it a lot harder to actually play at times due to the fact that my blood sugar may drop below, and I have to sit out and not be able to get the full experience that I want,” Naccarato said. “Or other times, I may have to go down to the office at school because my blood sugar is low, and then I end up falling behind.

“Then I have to work twice as hard to get caught back up.”

Throughout his early life, Naccarato was constantly out of class, his growth was stunted because of the diabetes and he was seen as almost the runt of the bunch.

It was up to Naccarato to alter his thinking on life and to become more of a leader and in charge of his own self. Those qualities shined bright when he moved from the Kellogg School District to Kootenai.

“Moving out to Kootenai was really beneficial for him because he was no longer just a student roaming the halls,” Bohannon said. “Now he is a person, and the teachers are, like, ‘Desmond, how are you?’ and truly caring about him. Not just let’s get through another day. Let’s get everything done. And I think that has helped.”

If there is one thing Naccarato would like other kids who are struggling with Type-1 diabetes to know, it is very similar to what his mother said.

“Just don’t let it weigh you down, you should learn to take advantage of it, and you should live with it, live alongside it,” he said. “Make the most of it and just don’t let it control you. You should control it.”

Naccarato will go the skilled trade route after high school, pursuing a career as an electrician.

“I hope that those who come in contact with him really enjoy his presence,” Ames said. “He is a great, great human. A real go-getter, but also just a sweet human to be around. I can’t say enough good things about Desmond. And I do wish the best for him, and I’m excited to see where he goes.”

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