Friday, June 10, 2011

Try to walk a mile in these shoes...

Tomorrow our family will join thousands of others in our area, and tens or hundreds of thousands around the U.S. and world, and walk for diabetes.

The annual walk is more than scores of feet putting miles on battered tennis shoes. The walk is a chance to stand up for something, to make your presence known, and to meet people who care about the same things you care about. It's also a chance to raise money for research that will someday cure my daughter, and so many others, from autoimmune diseases such as diabetes.

So try to imagine a day in the shoes of a person with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a disease that never rests, so as a person with type 1 diabetes - or the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes - you think about diabetes from the moment you wake until you sleep, and often it wakes you during the night as well.

Imagine a day like this: You wake in the morning and test your blood sugar. Then you decide what to have for breakfast, analyzing the box of waffles, the bagel, the peanut butter to make sure you know how many grams of carbohydrates you are consuming. You dose by giving yourself a shot or programming your insulin pump. You hope you did it right, because if you made even a small mistake, your morning isn't going to go well. Rinse and repeat for snacks, lunch, dinner, dessert -
...all day
...every day
...for the rest of your life.

So I wanted to take a little time to introduce you some of the beautiful people I know with type 1 diabetes, and hopefully stir up some passion for a disease that affects you in some way, whether you realize it or not.

This is my Sarah. She is my beautiful, charming, enthusiastic eleven year old. Sarah is passionate about musical theater; she loves to sing, dance, and act. Sarah is an active member of her student council in her elementary school. She's a little sister, a big cousin, and a loving daughter. Even though Sarah is a big girl now, she still loves to giggle and be silly. Sarah has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Sarah.

This is Carter. Carter is nine years old. An avid sports enthusiast, Carter loves to play basketball and soccer. He is an impressive little fisherman. Carter has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Carter.

Justin is 10 years old and was diagnosed in 2008. His parents are constantly amazed at his strength and determination. Justin is a caring and loving son with a huge heart, more than his parents could have ever hoped for. He is a hero. Justin has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Justin.

This is Brandan! Brandon loves to learn, and his favorite subject is space. He wants to be an astronaut. Brandan has two little brothers. Wouldn't it be great of the three of them could fly to the moon together? Brandan has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Brandan.
Gavin was six when diagnosed last year. Through his website he educates people about the dangers facing our oceans. Recently, Gavin became a Youth Ambassador for the Dawn Junior Wildlife Champion program. Gavin has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Gavin
This is Jordan. Jordan is an incredibly active young lady. She loves to sing and dance. Outdoor activities keep her happy, including camping, enjoying the beach, and swimming. Jordan has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Jordan.

This is Cadence. She LOVES the color orange, fish & music. When she grows up, she wants to be an ichthyologist :) Cadence is in 1st grade & is in the gifted program for reading. She enjoys drawing & coloring...& talking :)  Her life motto is "I have diabetes...diabetes does not have me!"  Cadence is an amazing, sweet, sassy girl, who just so happens to have hurdles that she will need to overcome for the rest of her life...but knowing her, she will do it all with a smile on her face & determination in her soul. Cadence has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Cadence.

Riley is 10 years old. She loves running around outside playing with her cousins. She just got this custom made fanny pack in the mail. Riley carried her blood glucose tester, glucose tabs and a juice box while she is outside playing. She often has low blood sugars while doing her favorite things, and has to stop to treat herself when she should just be able to play. Riley has type 1 diabetes. I walk for Riley.

These kids all have type 1 diabetes. And these kids are the lucky ones. Undiagnosed type 1 diabetes kills. But these kids deserve to grow up safe and strong and healthy, without worrying about complications. These kids are your friends, neighbors and students. They are future doctors, entertainers, and astronauts. They need your help.

Can you find $10, $5, or $1 for diabetes? Funds donated to organizations such as the American Diabetes Association and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation help in so many ways, including:

  • Development of new therapies and work towards a cure
  • Ensuring access to affordable, quality healthcare to ensure people with diabetes have the tools to manage their disease for the best possible outcome
  • Reduce discrimination in schools and the workplace and make sure our schools are a safe place for kids with diabetes
  • Improve public awareness of the serious nature of diabetes to encourage earlier detection and aggressive treatment
You can get involved by taking action. Sign up for one or more walks each year. Be an advocate; learn about diabetes and share your knowledge. Diabetes is one of the most misunderstood diseases out there. You can help change that by learning and educating those around you.

Let's not hide from diabetes anymore. Let's STOP diabetes!