Hello! This year, I'll be taking part in JDRF's Ride to Cure Diabetes, along with hundreds of other riders across the country to improve the lives of all people affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D). If you ask people with T1D, they will tell you it is difficult and life threatening. And they know it never goes away. Taking care of T1D is an around-the-clock job.
Anna is an energetic, fun-loving 6 year old who loves skiing, sledding, gymnastics,swimming, and, of course, chocolate chip cookies. To see her in action, one would never know that every day, she requires 6-8 finger pokes, she never eats anything without asking, and that she has a tube that is inserted under her skin that delivers her insulin, allowing her to stay alive. One might also not realize that if Anna suddenly slows down and acts tired, she may be experiencing low blood sugar, and she needs immediate attention, for she is at risk of passing out. On the other hand, she may be confused or disoriented - this could mean that her blood sugar is too high, maybe her tubing is kinked, and this also is life-threatening. Lucky for us and for Anna, she has not yet experienced either of these situations, and hopefully never will. As a young child, we (her parents) have total control over her diabetes, constantly monitoring her meals, snacks, and exercise - all a delicate balance to keep her blood sugar level in the healthy range. Every other night we change her site where her pump connects to her body. This is terrifying for Anna, as there is a rather large needle that inserts the tubing, and then retracts. It has been almost a year since Anna started on the pump, and she is getting more and more brave with the site changes - she would agree that every other night is much better than when she was on injections and having shots 6 times a day.
This disease affects the entire family. Anna's big sisters are very aware of the low blood sugar signs Anna shows when she needs to be checked...and even though it is not always easy, they try to be patient with her when she is very "grumpy"...a sure sign of being low. As parents of a young child with T1D, there is no break. Anna is in 1st grade and is so very lucky to go to a school where everyone knows her...her teacher has learned about the disease and pays careful attention to Anna's signs, and the nurse checks Anna's blood sugar at least twice a day and gives her insulin for her snack and lunch. But every morning when I watch Anna get on the bus, I wonder, did I remember everything in her lunch and snack? Did I count the carbs correctly?
Every night when I go to bed I set my alarm for midnight and 3am so I can check Anna's blood sugar. If she has had an active day, her sugar will drop during the night and she will need to be woken up to have a snack. Sometimes she is too high and needs insulin. All this around-the-clock monitoring is exhausting, both physically and emotionally...but as a mom, I will do whatever I need to do to keep Anna healthy, and I would do it forever if I need to. But someday all this will be Anna's responsibility...and that is too overwhelming for me to think about.
I am asking for your support. Please donate to my personal fundraising efforts. By doing so, you can help me make a difference for millions of people living with type 1 diabetes.
Did you know that:
As the leader of the type 1 diabetes community, JDRF unifies global efforts to cure, treat and prevent T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible?
Thank you for your support!
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