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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) — The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a major blow to student athletes, making it so many have been unable to play this year.
But a Vancouver teen cyclist is no stranger to overcoming adversity, as FOX 12’s newest High School Spotlight.
McKenna McKee is a name made for the marque, and an Olympic hopeful who is carrying the torch for young kids with diabetes.
“McKenna McKee – it sounds like it should be on Broadway, but my goal is to hopefully be in the Olympics.”
Bigger than Broadway, might those Paris games be calling in 2024 when McKee will be 21?
“If you set your goals to something, you can always achieve your goals no matter how crazy they are, you just really have to be dedicated to it, and I feel dedication is really important because it gets you to where you want to be,” McKee said.
She spins to her own schedule, opting to leave junior year at Mountain View High for a fully online education in this ever-changing world with the Washington Connections Academy.
“With Connections Academy, I found that even if you are out riding your bike at, I don’t know, 9 in the morning or whatever time, I can just go back and it’s really flexible. It’s a lot easier to manage.”
McKee is a new member of team Novo Nordisk, which she called “a ten-year goal came true.”
Something good from 2020, as McKee made the world’s first all-diabetes professional cycling team.
“I am the youngest female and youngest overall so it’s pretty cool,” she said of joining.
She’s out to educate and empower about living with diabetes, something a 6-year-old McKee would have loved to know when she was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes in the first grade.
“I didn’t know what was happening to me and there was so much uncertainty with diabetes, and I feel like other people need to know, it’s going to be OK. I didn’t know that until way later on.”
McKee showed FOX 12 her insulin pump. “I have this. This actually has insulin in here and it leaks into my, well, drips into my bloodstream, all of the time, 24 hours so yeah, it’s kind of my life supply. Half-bionic. No, I am just kidding, haha!”
The Vancouver teen has never let her diagnosis drag her down and wants to lead the pack for those young kids who follow her path.
“I was just a little girl and it’s cool to see a bunch of little girls with diabetes looking up to me and it just really warms my heart seeing how you inspire people and they get inspired and it’s just a big chain that keeps going around, kind of like our bicycles.”
Encouraging all to get up, get out, get moving, McKee wants others like her to know: “For me, diabetes and exercise work really well together and I find that more I exercise, the more my diabetes is and the better it is to control. It’s easier to manage.”
“It’s 24-hours, Diabetes never goes away. For me, cycling will probably never go away.”
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