AZ Teen Dies After Battling DKA

An Arizona teenager died on Tuesday after battling Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) for several days. Alex DePriest was a senior at Desert Vista High School, who planned to attend Arizona State University in the fall. Having lived with Type 1 diabetes since fifth grade, she was inspired to study nursing. Her father told another news outlet that she passionately wanted to help others. “Caregiving . . . was something she really wanted to do.”

DePriest was a star on her high school’s varsity volleyball team, and she served as the manager for the boys’ team. This team celebrated her life at a volleyball match this week. The crowds wore pink (DePriest’s favorite color), placed flowers and a jersey on her empty seat, and honored her life with a formal announcement. DePriest’s parents were in attendance at the event, where they received flowers from the team.

DePriest’s best friend, Madison Garner talked to a local news team about her tragic loss. She recalled the many plans she and DePriest had in store, such as visiting Disneyland for DePriest’s 18th birthday. Garner said she will check every item off the list even though her friend is gone. This is her way of honoring DePriest: “It’s going to be different doing it alone, but I know it’s something I have to do.”

It’s not clear exactly why DePriest went into DKA. But her parents say they were blindsided by the events: “This happened very sudden.” They will donate her organs, as she requested, but her pancreas will go to diabetes research. “I think she would be extremely happy, with that big smile,” said her father.

Since the news broke on social media outlets, many parents have shared stories of their own teenagers’ near-fatal experiences with DKA.

The family has initiated a GoFundMe to raise funds for JDRF.

Shortly after this story was published, a friend of Alex’s family spoke to Insulin Nation about the tragedy. You can read that here.


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Audrey Farley is a former editor of Insulin Nation.

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