Kyle Houlihan was like any other active nine year old boy living in Franklin, WI. He enjoyed hockey, snowboarding, and fishing, but most of all he enjoyed playing with his friends. In March 2010, Kyle became sick with what doctors thought was strep throat or a virus. However, after he started exhibiting symptoms of Type 1 diabetes, including frequent urination, fatigue and constant thirst, doctors ran tests and found his blood sugar level to be over 500. At the age of nine, Kyle Houlihan was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Enter VitalPak, a medical backpack with a removable snap-in Essentials Kit that allows Kyle and others living with diabetes to carry all their essential medical supplies and devices without drawing attention to their disease. VitalPak is the brainchild of Kyle, with the help of his father, Tom Houlihan. They father-son team created the backpack after searching for a product that would not draw attention to Kyle disease while also giving Kyle the functionality, style and organization to keep all his supplies in one place. VitalPak can always be customized to help those who suffer from other conditions, such as asthma or allergies, where minutes can make a difference in treatment. It can even be configured as a portable first aid kit for active families and individuals.
Since his diagnosis, Kyle and his family have embraced the disease and have worked tirelessly to educate and raise awareness of diabetes with the goal of making life better for diabetics. In 2011, Kyle was named the Wisconsin Youth Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association, an honor bestowed upon one child for the entire state of Wisconsin. He received this honor just one year after being diagnosed. As the youth ambassador, he was the face of diabetes at events throughout the state of Wisconsin, including “Step Out: A Walk to Stop Diabetes” and “Tour de Cure”. Each event served as an opportunity for him to share his story and educate his peers while bringing awareness of the disease to the people of Wisconsin.
According to data released by the American Diabetes Association, diabetes affects 25.8 million children and adults in the United States, with one in 400 children living with diabetes1.
Kyle faced diabetes head on and is continuing to live an active life. While there is no cure for diabetes, Kyle continues to stay positive and hopes for a cure in his lifetime. In the meantime, his goal is to be an advocate for diabetes awareness and education.
“I wish that people knew more about diabetes so that they would know that diabetes is not contagious,” states Houlihan. “I also hope that people who have been recently diagnosed with diabetes know not to be afraid of telling their friends about it because people will be much more supportive than they think they will be.”
VitalPak is distributed by Quest Products, Inc. For more information on where to purchase VitalPak, CLICK HERE.
1American Diabetes Association 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet