One morning, about three and a half years ago, my son Joshua and I were sitting on the couch watching cartoons. When my wife came into the room, she instantly noticed Joshua was not behaving as his usual crazy self and just knew something was terribly wrong. She convinced me that we should take him to the hospital immediately - there was no waiting. In the ER we received life changing news, it was the onset of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). At that moment Joshua had a blood glucose level of 809, well beyond a normal person's threshold of 70 -100. The nurses said they didn't know how he wasn't in a coma or, worse, dead.
Remembering the previous week or so, my wife kept saying, “you know, excessive thirst and frequent urination are signs of Type 1 Diabetes...” “Nah, it's not that,” was my response each time. I saw the signs, but continually told myself he can't be diabetic. It haunts me to think my ignorance almost killed our son and I am thankful to my wife for being so vigilant. After a week's stay in the hospital and a crash course in T1D management, we were on our own. Even today, it is still an eye opening experience to see how fragile life can be. Realizing you are responsible for literally keeping your child alive... overwhelming does not begin to cover it.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks a person's pancreas and causes it to no longer produce insulin. Insulin is mandatory to convert what we eat into usable energy for our body. Without insulin we can not survive. Managing T1D is an around the clock operation which we currently do through an insulin pump and continuous blood glucose checks throughout the day and night. One night I checked Josh before I went to bed and found his blood glucose at 10; had I waited an hour later he might not be with us today.
Joshua is a good sport about T1D most of the time. He is learning to do some things on his own and has even educated the school nurse on a thing or two. It's not always rainbows and butterflies though. Joshua was diagnosed at age three and at seven we are already seeing signs of burnout. Hearing him say, “how much longer do I have to have diabetes? Cause I don't want it anymore,” is heartbreaking. That question continually motivates me to do anything and everything I can to create awareness and raise money to cure T1D.
Last year we raised over $3,000 and I rode 107 miles in Tucson, Arizona, in the pouring rain with temperatures in the 40's and 50's. It was challenging, but nothing compared to what our son endures on a 24/7 basis. Come rain or shine, hot or cold, I am dedicated to again ride the 107 miles in Tucson in support of Joshua and the millions of people living with T1D. Please support our family and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), with a financial contribution to help fund research to cure Type 1 Diabetes.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you very much.
The Alexander Family
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Mary Ann Warn
Mr. Timothy Alexander
Mrs. Tina Bombardier