Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
(Anna Barry posing with her Signature Smile)
While her teammates are cradling, pivoting, and running down the field, Anna Barry is sitting on the sidelines, chugging juice. However, she’s not just your thirsty lacrosse player. Keeping her thirst quenched isn’t the issue; keeping her off the field, is her unstable blood sugar.
Seventeen-year-old Anna Barry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on November 22, 2014, mid way through her sophomore year at Mother McAuley, in Chicago. “It was immediate shock, and I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to live my life the way I planned it.”
Barry had her whole life planned out. She planned to make documentaries on scientific subjects until she turned 50. Following that, she planned to build her dream theatre with slides, mazes, and riddles to be answered before entering. Around 70 years old is when she planned to slow down and open up a flower shop, to express her love of nature. Diabetes hasn’t changed those plans. However, it has changed her outlook on life.
“Don’t take the little things for granted.” This realization came soon after being diagnosed. Barry didn’t feel like she fully appreciated all the things her body did for her until she had to do them herself. “It’s definitely frustrating.” Of course, any unplanned medical issue is upsetting, but through it all Barry remains positive.
Barry’s long time friend, Addie Smith said, “She actually handles it really well, she’s always so positive, and such an inspiration to everyone.” Barry never fails to look on the bright side and even convince her friends to as well.
Friendship is a big part of Barry’s life. She has 3 close friends; Meg,Eileen, and Addie. Barry is supportive, and doesn’t mind babbling friends on the phone crying about a bad break up. Smith says, Barry is like every other friend she has, the only difference being, “I definitely worry about her more, I will always look out for her.”
Along with all of this, Barry manages to stay organized. She holds the annual “Shin Dig in the Woods” in her backyard. She plans games and other activities. “The Shin Dig is a blast and everyone loves it.” Smith said. Every year there is a “Shin Dig Champion”. This year Barry and her team had the privilege to win. Smith stated, “Anna is so great in athletics but despite that she always remains humble.”
Barry has a long line of achievements. Barry attended the 2015-2016 IHSA Journalism State. Her first and second year attending, she was actually a final qualifier. Smith said, ”She’s such a smart girl, but also very humble.”. Barry is smart in every aspect and has maintained a 3.8 GPA through all of her life changing experiences.
Barry has managed to hold down a part time job at the local Cold Stone Creamery. “I spend most of my summer working at Cold Stone.” After just 1 year of work Barry has become a shift manager with hours that range from, 5pm to midnight or even 1am. She practically runs the store for minimum wage. “I stick in this job because I’m loyal” Whether it be because she is loyal to her boss, her co-workers, or her customers, Barry will always be present with a smile on her face.