Sixteen-year-old Megan Khoury of Midland, Texas, won our Kids' Category in the DiabetesMine Design Competition this year. Her entry, a concept called AniMeter, received the most votes among our four kids' finalists:

But even more than the interactive glucose monitor Megan envisioned, it's her life that will blow you away. At least it did me.

Megan is energetic and well-spoken. In a nutshell, Megan's heavily involved in competitive tennis, dance and theater, pageantry, and fund-raising for orphans in Lebanon, where her mother grew up during the civil war. Now add diabetes and D-awareness campaigns to that list. Megan will be donating her prize money to a worthy charity, she says.

Here's how our recent interview went:

DM) You were just recently diagnosed, isn't that right? What was the experience like for you?

Yes, I was diagnosed in the 9th grade.  My blood glucose was in the thousands.  I was close to going into a coma. The doctors were surprised I wasn't already. My pediatrician didn't catch it even though we kept going to her.  I thought that I was run down because of all my activities — I was exhausted losing weight, thirsty, all the symptoms...

What about adjusting to being 'a diabetic'?

I didn't know anything about diabetes.  I was always interested in cancer, since a lot of my family has had it. That was the one disease I'd focused on to learn about.  I thought diabetes just meant you couldn't have any actual sugar. I didn't know it had anything to do with carbs and all that.

I was treated at UMC Children's Hosptial in Lubbock, Texas. They were so great! Actually, I just finished doing a commercial for them — it's on YouTube.  That hospital is amazing, and I just think of this as payback.

Now I've learned so much. I want to be a doctor when I grow up.

What is your diabetes regimen like now?

I wear the OmniPod. I love it. I just got it at Christmas. It really helps me to be able to do anything I want.

I test about five times a day — whenever I eat and whenever I'm not feeling well.  That's one of the reasons my hospital asked me to do the commercial, because since diagnosis, my A1C has been 6 to 6.2.  I've been taking really good care of myself, and the doctors were really proud of me. I hope I'm serving as a good role model for other teens.

Being healthy comes before everything — you can't do anything if you're not healthy. Not everyone has that choice, but we diabetics can take care of ourselves.

Sounds like the diabetes hasn't slowed you down a bit...?

{giggles} I'm involved in just about everything you can think of. My No. 1 sport is tennis.  I'm so dedicated. I play in the USTA and also a league at Midland College. My dad and I love to play. He taught me and my younger brother, who's 14 — who doesn't have diabetes, thank God.

I've been involved in theater, singing and dance and acting.  I've had the opportunity to be in Las Vegas, touring with broadway shows. I did Footloose recently, and I also just turned down a lead role in Phantom of the Opera. I would have had to leave school.  That was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make with my family, but I want to prepare to go to a good university, and then to medical school to become a doctor — maybe to Stanford University in California, but for family reasons I might stay in Texas and go to Baylor Medical School. I haven't really decided yet.

Sounds like you're extremely close with your family...?

Yes.  My dad is city planning and zoning director of Odessa, Texas.  My Mom is a stay-at-home mom, but she has four Master's degrees.  She grew up in Lebanon during the civil war. You wouldn't believe the things she went through, when she was even younger than me and my brother. She witnessed beheadings and her friends getting shot right in front of her. What she had to go through, it's unbelievable.

She's writing a memoir called "Return to Welcome" that's really going to change things when it comes out.  It's about love and support and war — things we in America can't even imagine. We don't see how other people are suffering, and we have so much that we take for granted. This book is going to change people's minds, the way they view things...

My mom is the most amazing person you will ever meet.  She's showed me how I want to live my life and I'm grateful for that.

You're also involved in beauty pageants?

I held the title of Young Ms. Texas.  And I am now the choreographer, host and a judge with the Distinguished Youth of America Program and Miss Teen of America Program.

With all this going on, how did you find (or find the time for) the DiabetesMine Challenge?

I got an email from someone about the competition, and I read the rules.  I've had so many ideas about diabetes, and I decided it was perfect.

The AniMeter idea came from hearing so much from parents of young children with diabetes — that it's hard to get them to do any testing unless they're really motivated. Why not make it a toy?  Not just toy, but a toy that talks to them. They can play games together, and learn about new stuff, like science, etc.  Kids around ages 5 - 10 rely on toys a lot; toys are something they don't mind carrying with them.

By the way, my brother also entered something in the competition: the "ExhaleMe Meter," which I think was a good idea.

What about the online community for AniMeter that you mention in your entry?

You just build on it, add the technology that we have: chat rooms, and a site to help kids and parents too. They are are suffering too. The site could also include professional help for the parents, who are just learning to manage diabetes as well.

Were you very surprised about winning?

I am so happy that my hard work paid off!  We've already decided that I'm going to give some of the prize money to a friend who helped me make the video, but also send at least half of it to an orphanage in Lebanon to get them shoes and school supplies.  Whenever money comes into our hands, we say it should go back to a good cause.  That's what I decided we should do with the money.

Do you think you'll pursue the AniMeter idea, or other innovations in diabetes?

I would love to pursue the idea. I'm just not sure how to go about it.

To be honest, this summer will be full of getting ready for college, writing essays and applications, traveling and going to auditions for different things, tennis and travel for that, and singing for fundraisers in Dallas and Alpine, and New Mexico and other places. We raise money for Haiti and for orphans in the Philippines.

But your dream is to become a doctor, and make an impact on diabetes care?

Since I've chosen to focus on my studies, a lot of people tell me I'm wasting the gift God gave me for singing and acting, but I'm also really good at chemistry, biology and math — and those are gifts He gave me too.

Since I have diabetes and it's growing, I would LOVE to be part of the team that finds a cure for it.  That is like my dream now.  Hopefully the cure comes before my time is up.

We hope so too, Megan. And we hope to see you be part of the team that makes that breakthrough. Congratulations, and thanks for all you do!

Disclaimer: Content created by the Diabetes Mine team. For more details click here.


This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.