Once again its time to show your support for Maddison and all the others out there living with Type 1 Diabetes! The 2013 walk for Diabetes is on November 2nd and is sure to be tons of fun, all while showing Maddison that you care about helping to support fundraising in efforts to find a cure for this horrible disease!
Maddison has been living with Type 1 Diabetes since the tender age of 6. Type 1 Diabetes is among the most misunderstood diseases! Type 1 Diabetes is NOT the same as Type 2 Diabetes which can be managed with dietary changes, exercise and/or oral medications. Type 1 Diabetes typically has a rapid onset, and is caused when the immune system mistakenly destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas, making you dependant on insulin injections FOR LIFE!
Why dependant on insulin? Because without insulin your body has no way to get the energy (fuel) it needs to keep vital organs working properly. Insulin by injection is the ONLY way to turn the food we eat into glucose (sugar) to fuel our bodies. Without insulin, blood sugar rises to toxic levels, and the high blood sugar affects EVERY function in the body. Immediate symptoms are headache, nausea and vomiting, muscle aches, irritability, stomach pain, extreme fatigue, frequent urination (as the body tries to rid itself of toxic amounts of glucose) and in extreme cases, confusion, coma and/or death. Long term effects of higher than normal blood sugars include blindness, kidney failure, risk of amputations, nerve damage and heart disease.
High blood sugar can happen for SO many different reasons, regardless of how well you have learned to "control" the disease. Most common causes of high blood sugar is incorrect dosing for the amount/type of food eaten, missed or forgotten injections, illness, stress, growth spurts in children, hormone changes, changes in weather, activity level, etc. High blood sugar does not happen just because you eat too much sugar!!!
Along with use of insulin comes the risk of low blood sugar, which can quickly turn into a medical emergency if not treated with sugar (glucose) promptly. Low blood sugar can happen when too much insulin is given in comparison to the food eaten, when insulin isnt balanced with the level of activity (walking, hiking, biking, playing on the playground) when illness sets in, or simply when insulin requirements suddenly decrease without warning. Low blood sugar symptoms include weakness, dizziness, headache, confusion, irritability, coma and/or death.
Every person with Diabetes has individual insulin requirements, not one person is the same. Learning what your individual needs of insulin are for any given time is based on trial and error. Can you imagine managing a life saving, dangerous medication for your child based on trial and error? What worked to control blood sugars one day, may be too much or too little tomorrow, so, we manage blood sugar levels by each blood sugar check (finger poke.) Maddison checks her blood sugar immediately upon waking each morning, at least 3 hours after every meal or snack, every hour on sick days, before activity, after activity, before bed and anytime when she has symptoms or feelings of a blood level too high or too low. Most days thats 8-10 finger pokes a day, 4800 every year! Her tiny fingers are scarred and tired of being poked all the time!
With Type 1 Diabetes you must inject insulin for every carbohydrate eaten; Maddison can never just sit down and enjoy her food without careful attention to what and how much she is eating, and injecting her insulin first. In 7 years with Diabetes Maddison has endured somewhere around 15,000 injections, thats at least 4 shots per day since the age of 6!!
The hardest part of Diabetes is that it never sleeps just because you are. We NEVER get a break from managing blood sugar levels. Especially with children, insulin needs may be the highest at night during sleep, because this is when the body grows and needs extra energy (and insulin) to do so. Therfore, most children with Diabetes need a parent to monitor their blood sugars every few hours overnight to assure levels are healthy and not reaching dangerous life threatening highs or lows. This is a lot of constant management to stay healthy! With Type 1 Diabetes you never get a break, even if you are just a child!
All this, every single day, yet Maddison rarely complains. Over the years living with this disease Maddison has gained compassion for others because of her own struggles and hardships. Maddison has matured far beyond her age, acted as an advocate by raising awareness and money for research, gained mental and physical strength, and learned determination for never letting her disease slow her down. Maddison dreams of one day living carefree again, without worry of what her future health could hold. Maddisons greatest wish in life is for a cure to this terrible disease. Please help make this a possibility by supporting our efforts in fundraising for a cure. Every dollar makes a difference, and every walker that joins our walk team shows Maddison that they care.
JDRF is our best hope for finding a cure. It funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide and it's making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure. We can make a cruical difference together, please, join our walk team today and help support fundraising for the cure!
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