DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Donna Doherty was running varsity track in high school when she was diagnosed with diabetes.

“And my parents yanked me out,” Doherty said. “They said, ‘you can’t do that because you’re diabetic.’ and I think that’s what a lot of patients or families feel like, ‘You’re diabetic. So, therefore, you can’t be like everybody else or exercise.'”

But Doherty began running again after college. But she wasn’t monitoring her diabetes. Then, she had two wake-up calls. One was a friend who had to be put on dialysis. And, Doherty developed the large spots on her shins.

“They used to be bright, bright red because of my circulation,” Doherty said of the spots which are now a light tan color. “And they were really sore. And kids would make fun of me. I was like, I better take better care of that and get healed.”

So, Doherty learned to manage her diet. She tested her blood glucose up to eight times a day and learned the importance of balancing medicine, exercise and diet. Doherty now runs marathons and is in training to run the White Rock Lake race in Dallas.

“I went back and got my nutrition degree so I could help other diabetics and explain to them and their parents and the whole family unit its beneficial,” Doherty said.

Doherty’s sponsor for the White Rock Marathon is, ironically, a pharmacy named Dougherty’s. The store products serve people like Doherty with performance supplements, medication and nutrition.

“We have supplements and a lot of different prescription drugs,” said pharmacist Pam Spraberry. “But they need to be careful when they combine the two so they don’t interact.”

And that’s exactly what Doherty now works to educate people about at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.
She educates and encourages other diabetics and helps them dispel the old-notion that diabetes prevents people from exercising.

“It gives them that empowerment,” Doherty said. They say, ‘Someone’s here with me. They’ve done it before.’ And it kind of just shows them, lead by example, I guess.”

For more information on exercising with diabetes, click here.