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Quilt for Life Raises Awareness of Diabetes

Benjamin Hoffman is on two tours at the same time, including stops at Magruder High School in Rockville and Pasadena, Calif.

Hoffman, a sophomore at Churchill High School, plays drums for Panic System, a rock band that will perform part of the MHStival at Magruder High School on Saturday, June 21.

Hoffman’s other tour does not require him to travel to Pasadena in person — instead, he will be represented by a three-foot-by-three-foot quilt square that will soon be on display with the entire Children With Diabetes Quilt for Life in the Rose Bowl.

Hoffman’s part of the quilt is currently at the family home in Potomac, but once it is sent to be part of the Rose Bowl display, Hoffman’s quilt square will travel with the larger quilt.

“It’s similar to the AIDS Quilt,” said Carole Hoffman, Benjamin’s mother. “It’s being put together by parents of children with diabetes.”

The quilt will be displayed in conjunction with the National Children with Diabetes Conference, and will be the first-ever display of the entire quilt.

BENJAMIN HOFFMAN HAD plenty of things on his mind last week, typical concerns for a high school student. He was studying for a history final, and had the Panic System concert approaching.

“We cover a lot of U2 songs, and do some Green Day songs,” said Hoffman. “But we write a lot of our own music, too.”

In addition to music, he plays baseball and basketball, and the quilt depicts him playing both sports. During the school year he also volunteers for Potomac Adaptive Sports, a sports program for youth and young adults with disabilities.

Is diabetes something he’s often thinking about?

“Not really, because I’ve had it for so long,” said Benjamin Hoffman.

Hoffman was diagnosed with diabetes six years ago at the age of eight, a time when the family was living abroad is Russia.

“It’s just something that blows you away,” said Carole Hoffman. “It takes a long time to get past the tears with this disease.”

Benjamin Hoffman has Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes, and while this is a potent form of the disease, Hoffman benefits from an insulin pump that enables him to eat and sleep normally.

“One you’re on insulin, you look like any kid, and you can act like any kid,” said Carole Hoffman.

HOFFMAN’S QUILT square consists of nine panels, most depicting his main interests: music, sports and travel. The lower left panel lists his name, date of birth, and date of diagnosis, in accordance with convention on the Quilt for Life.

One panel shows Benjamin Hoffman in Australia, a souvenir of his first trip abroad since he began using the insulin pump in February 2001. There is another section showing Hoffman pounding the drums, and the centerpiece is a childhood picture of him on the beach.

“I’ll see it on TV, and that will be pretty cool,” says Hoffman of the forthcoming display of the Quilt for Life.