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).
I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 14. I was just entering high school and embarking on a whole new set of challenges marked by adolescence. The physical symptoms I experienced were consistent with a diagnosis of T1D, including constant thirst, hunger, weakness and extreme weight loss. A dear friend, whose daughter had T1D since the age of 3 suggested that I use her meter to check my sugar. The meter read "high" and I was rushed to the hospital, when my sugar was tested it was recorded at 719 with a very high level of ketones. My doctors stated that if I had not been treated I would have fallen into a coma in two weeks time. In the hospital I met with Endocrinologists, Dietitians, Nutritionists, and Diabetes Educators, and had intense training in diabetes control and management.
Like most people, my life has had its ups and downs. The one constant in my life has been my diabetes and the effort that i have to put forth to ensure that my life is no different than anyone else's. It has changed the way I eat and exercise. It has motivated me to do things I never thought I could do. It has taught me to stay physically fit and active. If anything, I am motivated to do so much more because I have diabetes. I scuba dive, swim, run everyday, do CrossFit and have completed multiple obstacle course races, including the 13 mile "Tough Mudder". This 100 mile JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes will add to my list of achievements, but the purpose of the race is too raise money and awareness to find a cure for T1D and that makes it all that more special.
My greatest achievement is giving birth to my two beautiful children, Anthony and Olivia. Being pregnant and carrying a child is a challenge for every woman, but having diabetes makes it that much more difficult. Diabetes during pregnancy is very unpredictable and even the slightest fluctuations in one's blood sugar could have an impact on the baby. Despite the complications that arose during my pregnancies I was still able to give birth to two very healthy babies.
There are times when i feel alone, despite the tremendous support I receive from my parents (they have been there for me through thick and thin), my husband, my children, and my friends. I also question why I have this disease. My work with the the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, however, has opened my eyes to a world full of inspiring people with diabetes, who achieve great things, and who are an inspiration for people who don't have diabetes. I am currently on multiple shots a day and check my sugar over 5 times a day, but all the effort and hard work has paid off and I would not be able to do it with out the support of my family, friends, and doctors.
T1D can develop in people with or without a family history of diabetes. In either case, people who develop T1D have one or more genes that make them susceptible to the disease. It is thought that environmental factors, such as exposure to certain viruses, or certain foods early in life, might trigger the immune response. First degree relatives of a person with type 1 diabetes have a 5-6% chance of developing diabetes vs. 0.4 % in someone with no family history.
I am asking for your support for my children, as well as the thousands of children who have been diagnosed with this disease. I want my children to grow up healthily, reach their milestones, and achieve amazing things. I want to be a part of their accomplishments every step of the way. I know that with the efforts of the JDRF a cure is right around the corner. Please donate to my personal fundraising goal of $2K. By doing so, you can help me make a difference for millions of people living with T1D.
Thank you for your support!
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