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Effingham girl the subject of Savannah photo exhibit
0408 Abbey Brannen artsy photo
Abbey Brannen, now 9 years old, lives with type 1 diabetes. Pricking her finger 10-12 times a day, she has been checking her own blood sugar since the age of 4 using a lancing system. - photo by Photo provided

SAVANNAH — An Effingham County girl with diabetes is the subject of a photography exhibit at Savannah’s Cultural Arts Gallery.

“The Sweet Life,” a collection of photos by Chelsea Warlick, tells the story of Abbey Brannen, 9, and how she and her family live with her type 1 diabetes. The images are on display through May 1 at the Cultural Arts Gallery at 9 W. Henry St.

Abbey, a third-grader at Ebenezer Elementary School, was diagnosed with diabetes when she was only 21 months old. The exhibit, organized and coordinated by the American Diabetes Association in Savannah, illustrates Abbey’s daily maintenance of diabetes: checking blood sugar levels, taking insulin shots, making healthy food choices, going to doctor’s appointments, participating in cheerleading and more.

“These pictures show a different side of Abbey,” said her mother, Johnsie Brannen. “While she looks healthy on the outside, every day she is dealing with the disease and maintaining her health.”

Since Abbey’s diagnosis, the Brannen family has been very involved with the American Diabetes Association in Savannah. Abbey is an American Diabetes Association advocacy ambassador and Johnsie serves on the American Diabetes community board and is team captain for the Step Out Walk team “Abbey’s Angels.”

“Because only 5 percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease, I felt honored to be given the opportunity to shed light on this very serious, yet manageable, disease,” said Warlick, a cultural and documentary photographer. “I am thankful to have been able to help tell Abbey and the Brannens’ story and hope the community of Savannah will gain new insight into the day-to-day life of a type 1 diabetic child.”

A “Sweet Life” reception will be held April 17 from 5-7 p.m. Gallery hours are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, and all events are free and open to the public.

Free off-street parking is available. For more information, visit

More than 30,000 people in the Savannah area and 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.