Mark Clayton is a junior at Schaumburg High School and played on the EPIC 16U team this past spring. Mark and his family moved to Illinois from Idaho after he graduated junior high. Mark's last year of junior high school brought more changes than just geography for the Clayton family.
As an 8th grader in Post Falls, ID, Mark was known as an extremely energetic kid that rarely slept. Mark loved basketball and as the school year came to a close, he found himself playing for three different teams. He got into a great groove on the court and had great success scoring the ball. Mark had multiple games for each team in which he scored 20+ points. With all the basketball that Mark played, his energy really started to decline. He also noticed that he had an unquenchable thirst and began falling asleep, immediately, upon arriving home from school.
Assuming exhaustion from too much basketball, Mark dialed back his activities, but the conditions continued to persist and worsened. The family decided that Mark had to go to the doctor, where they learned that he lost 30 pounds in just a few months. After many tests were run, the Claytons were informed that Mark's symptoms was a result of him having Type 1 diabetes.
After the initial shock wore off, the family found themselves confused and very emotional. Mark found himself asking questions like Why did this happen? Would he be able to play basketball again? Would the kids at school treat him differently?
With the help of his family, Mark learned to manage his diabetes with insulin injections. After two weeks, he went back to school, where the students welcomed him and showed great support. The Clayton family became very close, as they came together to help Mark through this difficult period. They put their trust in God during their frightening time in their lives. Mark put it best, as he stated in his Mark Clayton: My Diabetes Story, "God put this in my life for a reason and He is always helping me to deal with my feelings. He saved me from going into a diabetic coma and I know He has a purpose in my life. I may not understand things all the time, but I know He has a plan for all this and I have decided I am never giving up"!