Portland High School senior succeeds on, off field, despite diabetes

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PORTLAND — When Pat Curran was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 12, only one concern came to mind.

“The first thing I was worried about was being able to play basketball,” Curran said. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to do sports at all.”

Curran quickly learned that he could continue to play, as long as he closely monitored his blood sugar levels. He does that by pricking his fingers as many as 12 times a day and giving himself between six and seven insulin shots, which are needed whenever he eats or his blood sugar is high.

“With sports, I have to check it constantly,” he said. “The trainer is good. I give it to her and she brings it out with the water and everything, so it’s always right on the sidelines if I ever need it.”

Curran has since hung up his basketball shoes in favor of cleats for contact sports like football and lacrosse. He is a captain on the Portland High School lacrosse team, which as of May 24 was enjoying an undefeated season and a 16-1 trouncing of crosstown rival Deering High School on Saturday.

But Curran has found as much success off the field as on. He is an honor student who has taken Advanced Placement and honors classes. On Wednesday, June 2, he will be one of 174 students participating in Portland High School’s commencement at 10:30 a.m. at Merrill Auditorium.

Next year, Curran will attend Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., where he hopes to walk on to the business school’s lacrosse team.

Curran has also been a community leader during his time at PHS. He has volunteered with the Big Brothers Big Sisters program and is finishing a term on its senior executive board.

Curran said his involvement in the organization was inspired by his uncle, who lives in New York City and organizes an annual Bowl for Kid’s Sake fundraiser.

“He still has a little brother he keeps in touch with,” he said. “So, I thought it would be cool to get involved.”

Curran has done a bit of fundraising of his own, to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. He has helped raise $23,000 over a four-year period through fundraising walks and sending out more than 300 letters a year.

Although sports and academics keep him busy, Curran said he hopes to increase his involvement in diabetes fundraising.

“When I have more time on my hands, I’m definitely going to get more involved with it,” he said.

Randy Billings can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or [email protected]

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Pat Curran has found success on and off the playing field, despite living with Type 1 diabetes. He will be among 174 students graduating from Portland High School on June 2.