“Diabetes did not stop me.”

Photo courtesy of UKAA.

“I got sick in January of 2017 and we thought it was just a regular sickness. We didn’t think anything of it. And then as months went on, I kind of started losing weight. I just got tired and stuff didn’t seem right. I would step on the scale and I was still losing weight when I was eating two times the amount that I usually do.”

Dillon smiles and waves with an IV in his other arm.
“Everything was going great. And then I was hit with this and it was a shock.”

Dillon Marsh was at the height of his high school baseball career when he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. The news was shocking for Dillon and his family–especially since he was in the process of being recruited by the University of Kentucky. He was dropping weight, his pitching speed was slipping, and he was worried that his dream of playing college baseball was at risk.

A baseball stadium with blue seats and a bright green field.
“I’m so thankful for everybody here--the support they've given me has been outstanding.” Photo courtesy of UKAA.

“That was probably one of the scariest baseball moments I could have been through. I called Coach Mingione and explained the situation and he could not have been more supportive. He reassured me that, ‘Hey, we’re sticking with you this entire journey. We’re in it for the long run if you’re in it for the long run.’ That’s when I knew that this was the place that I needed to be.”

Dillon poses with his back to the camera with the focus on his baseball jersey's number - 22.
“The positive was, ‘Hey, I'm going to be a Division I baseball player. I'm going to be able to impact kids and use my platform as well as I can.’” Photo courtesy of UKAA.

For Dillon, diabetes was both a learning experience and a lifestyle change. But with the support of his family, friends and team, he didn’t let anything hold him back from living out his dream–especially since he was able to rely on the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center for the education, specific care, resources and support while he’s away from home.

Dillon checks the readings on his digital glucose monitor.
Dillon has to pay special attention to his nutrition and blood glucose levels before, during and after practices and games.

“For him to be able to have a place where he can go–and his family knows and his coaching staff knows and his players know that he’s okay and he’s going to be taken care of–I think that brings everyone peace,” said Coach Mingione.

“They’re going to teach you everything that they know about diabetes, but at the same time they’re going to tell you it’s going to be okay,” said Dillon. “They help you understand that this is not going to consume your life. This is not going to stop you from doing what you want to do.”

Dillon speaks to kids and families at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center about being an athlete with diabetes.
Dillon spoke to kids and families at the Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center about being an athlete with diabetes.

Today, Dillon is a pitcher at the University of Kentucky–living proof that diabetes doesn’t have to slow you down. He’s also an active advocate for diabetes awareness, helping break down the misconceptions around the disease. He hopes that as he progresses in his baseball career, he can be even more of an example for others, especially kids dealing with their own diabetes diagnoses.

Dillon pitches the baseball from the pitcher's mound. The stadium is full behind him.
“The diabetes educators definitely changed my life. Without them, I can't say that I would be able to live like I do.” Photo courtesy of UKAA.

“There’s kids of all ages being diagnosed, and some of them are scared. To be that kind of light at the end of the tunnel for them and show them that everything that has happened up to this point has gone okay, even though I have Type 1 diabetes. It’s not stopped me from doing anything. I’m still a Division I baseball player. I’m doing my best to succeed in the sport. It’s not held me back.”

Dillon smiles in front of the UK HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center sign in a hallway.
“This is something that I couldn't have done alone. Since I had everybody there behind me, it just felt like I had weight lifted off my shoulders”

See how we care for patients like Dillon

at UK HealthCare’s Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center.

Liz, Benjamin, and Maximo stand together in a field for a family portrait. Maximo holds a large, framed portrait of Marco.Arin sits in a Chicago Red Stars chair in the locker room with her cleats around her neck and soccer ball at her feet.