Brainerd grad celebrates release of book
At Age 10, Brainerd native Quinn Nystrom knew what her lifelong mission would be.
After her younger brother Will was diagnosed with type-1 diabetes, she began knocking on neighborhood doors in her small northern Minnesota town to raise money for a cure for diabetes.
Three years later, she was diagnosed with diabetes and re-doubled her efforts. She now devotes her full-time efforts to diabetes advocacy and has been recognized nationally for her contributions. For the past 16 years, Nystrom has shared her struggle of living with diabetes with more than 250,000 people.
She is now celebrating the release of her book, “If I Kiss You, Will I Get Diabetes?” a first-hand account of negotiating life with a chronic illness. The book was released by Chip and Jean Borkenhagen of RiverPlace Press, in collaboration with Krista Soukup of Blue Cottage Agency.
“We are very proud to be a part of Quinn Nystrom’s new book,” Chip Borkenhagen said. “We understand all too well the seriousness of diabetes in our society, and believe this book will go a long way in giving hope to the thousands of young people who have been diagnosed with it. It shines a light on the angst and frustration that youth experience with this disease.”
“This is the book I wish I had when growing up with this disease. At the time, there were plenty of books about diabetes, but they didn’t answer the questions I was asking,” Nystrom said. “I needed a book that could give it to me straight, that didn’t pull any punches. I wanted the truth.”
Nystrom hopes the book will provide courage and faith for patients, family and caregivers of those suffering from diabetes and other chronic illnesses.
“When my pancreas shut down forever at age 13, I was devastated and desperate and didn’t know how I was going to get through seventh grade, let alone my whole life,” said Nystrom. “I didn’t know any other teenage girls with diabetes. I was alone and scared to death.”
“By sharing her story, Quinn has given a voice and insight into the hidden challenges of managing diabetes,” said Charlie Kimball, the first licensed driver with diabetes to win an IndyCar Series Race. “It is a great read for anyone who has diabetes, as a shared experience and one to learn from; or for anyone who knows and cares about someone with diabetes, offering a unique insight into a life with blood sugars, insulin and carb counts.”
Nystrom is a graduate of Brainerd High School and a former Miss Brainerd and National Youth Advocate for the American Diabetes Association (ADA). She currently lives in Minneapolis and works as a public speaker traveling across the country to diabetes camps, convention halls, the White House, corporate offices and the United States Congress, providing support and care for the millions of people living with the disease.
“It’s a joy to bring a message of hope to others living with diabetes,” Nystrom said. “The big surprise is the number of people without diabetes who tell me the message helped them with their challenges.”
Nystrom will celebrate the release of her book from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 4 at Prairie Bay Restaurant in Baxter where she will sign copies of her book and read excerpts from “If I Kiss You, Will I Get Diabetes?”
The event is free and open to the public and includes music by Jim Olsen.