Teen Mom OG alum Mackenzie McKee talks living with Type 1 diabetes: ‘You can do anything you want’

Mackenzie McKee IG Stories selfie
Mackenzie opened up about her Type 1 diabetes ahead of competing in the New York City Marathon. Pic credit: @mackenziemckee/Instagram

Mackenzie McKee will compete in the NYC Marathon this weekend as she represents a non-profit organization that brings awareness to her Type 1 diabetes diagnosis.

Mackenzie has been open with her fans about living with Type 1 diabetes, which means her body produces little to no insulin and requires life-saving medical interventions at times. The former MTV star was diagnosed as a child and has proven that it isn’t necessarily a life sentence.

Ahead of her big run, the Teen Mom OG alum spoke with PEOPLE to raise awareness about the disease and shared how she discovered she was living with Type 1 diabetes.

“I remember I was really skinny and it was a time in my life where I actually should be gaining weight,” Mackenzie shared. “I was hitting puberty, I was 11 and that was when all my friends were getting like hips and stuff and I just kept getting skinnier. And I craved a lot of sugar.”

Mackenzie’s symptoms are often classic signs of Type 1 diabetes. She revealed that during school, she would take frequent breaks, up to three time per hour, to get drinks from the water fountain and to use the bathroom, since Type 1 diabetes often causes frequent urination and excessive thirst.

At the time, Mackenzie’s late mother, Angie Douthit, was shocked, as her husband and Mackenzie’s father, Brad Douthit, also had the disease.

Teen Mom OG alum Mackenzie McKee diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in childhood

Angie took Mackenzie to the hospital after discovering that her blood sugar levels were off the charts, in the “coma-level” category. She was diagnosed on the spot, and her life was forever changed on a day she called “one of the worst” of her life.

Despite her diagnosis, Mackenzie has learned over the years what works for her body and how to manage her symptoms. Her diabetes has also inspired her healthy lifestyle and her fitness business, Body by Mac.

Mackenzie has been training for the 26.2-mile trek on Sunday, November 6, by running 20 miles near her Florida home. She’ll be running the NYC Marathon in memory of her mom Angie, who was an avid marathoner.

Mackenzie will bring awareness to Type 1 diabetes in the NYC Marathon

Mackenzie has teamed up with Beyond Type 1, a non-profit organization that touts itself as a “community of people with Type 1 diabetes sharing our stories.”

Mackenzie will be joined by her sister, who also lives with Type 1 diabetes. She said of their upcoming marathon in honor of their mother, “We’re living out our mom’s dream and it’s a very emotional experience for us. … And I just know that crossing the finish line is going to be one of the most emotional experiences ever.”

You can read Mackenzie’s interview in its entirety here.

Teen Mom: The Next Chapter airs on Tuesdays at 8/7c on MTV.

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