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‘Life.Style.Live!’ host George Mallet on life as a Type 1 diabetic

News 8 is getting personal, sharing the stories of our teammates facing medical issues that challenge families throughout Indiana.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3Part 4 | Part 5

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — George Mallet sits on the set of “Life.Style.Live!

He’s waiting for a cue in his ear from the producer to toss to co-host Amber Hankins for a story about crispy chicken and okra.

TV viewers welcome Mallet into their homes at 10 a.m. weekdays on WISH-TV, and online anytime at Now, Mallet wants to welcome viewers into a part of his personal life: He’s been a Type 1 diabetic since he was 17 years old. 

Type 1 diabetes is when a person’s pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar enter the body’s cells so it can produce energy. Without it, a person can’t function. Type 1 diabetes typically appears in adolescence, but people can also get it when they’re older. 

When he first found out Mallet says he was devastated. “I was a teenager and I was confronted with my mortality and it was terrifying at the time.”

Despite being young and scared, Mallet immediately went to his school library to learn about the disease. As he flipped through medical textbooks, he saw words that could possibly define his future: heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and blindness. Some people are even forced to have their legs or arms amputated. 

But, Mallet didn’t want that as his fate. Once he got over his initial grief of the diagnosis, Mallet decided he was going to live the best he could for as long as he could.

Since Mallet’s pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, he has to inject it into his body himself with a needle. After that, he’ll prick his finger to test his blood sugar to make sure the levels are right. He does this a dozen times a day.

Once a week, he’ll load up his infusion pump. The pump is a medical device that monitors his blood sugar levels to make sure insulin is being released in the right amounts. But that’s not all Mallet must do to keep his diabetes in check. He’s got to exercise. 

“I immediately took up long-distance running. I began to really focus on the things I could do for my health. The primary thing was to be exceedingly active.”

He bikes. He runs. He dances with his wife, Kathy. 

Even on the days when it’s the last thing he wants to do, Mallet forces himself to get out of bed and exercise because it’s not just about Mallet. He’s got someone really special relying on him: his 6-year-old pit mix, Spots. 

Everyday he suits up Spots in his harness and hooks him to his bike and the two go for a ride. Every. Single. Day. 

George has shared his life with his wife, who he married in January. She also shares in his journey to stay healthy.

“It’s wonderful to have him around,” she said. “It’s wonderful that there is someone that motivates me to move around and do things.”

“It’s hard to sit around and watch him do all these things without saying to myself: I have 30 minutes. I can go take a walk instead of just sitting here in my bathrobe.”

By sharing his story, Mallet hopes to help others. Here’s his message to Hoosiers: “A body in motion stays in motion. You stay active, you stay alive.”