"Your daughter has type 1 diabetes. She's breathing that way because she is in diabetic shock. I've called Children's Hospital and the doctors are expecting you in the ER. I would call an ambulance but there is no time. You need to leave right now." With those words my life changed forever.
When you take your child, your baby barely over a year and a half old, to the doctor for heavy breathing, the last thing you expect to hear is that they have an incurable disease and are fighting for their life. You do not expect to be grateful that they are admitted to critical care and not the ICU. You do not expect your child to have a future filled with daily injections, rigorous blood testing multiple times each day, and having to measure each and every thing they eat. You do not expect having to plan vacations around hospital locations. You do not expect having to fear for your child losing their vision, their legs, or loss of vital organs from complications. You do not expect that things as simple as a warm bath can make your child sick due to making their life-saving medication not work. These are never the plans a parent has for their child, the things they hope and dream for their future. It shakes you to your core. It turns your world upside down.
After your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you do not expect your world will ever turn right side up again. You do not expect the comfort a hand-sewn pillowcase made by a hospital volunteer can bring to a harsh metal hospital crib. You do not expect the overwhelming compassion of nurses. You do not expect to hear that one doctor on the phone at your most vulnerable in the middle of the night encourage you and then seek you out at the hospital because they remember you. You do not expect the outpouring of love from family and friends so close they are family in the days and months ahead as you try to adjust to this new life. You do not expect to be grateful to give your child shots, knowing that they allow her to live. Mostly, you do not expect your child to begin to thrive--to blossom, to laugh and sing and dance and play more than she ever has in her life.
You do not expect any of these things to happen...but they do. Slowly you begin to become accustomed to the daily demands of diabetes. Your world slowly turns. You watch your child grow and face their disease with courage and grace, and completely enjoy life. To watch this is a blessing that cannot be conveyed in words. It is a miracle.
Organizations like the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) are helping families find this miracle every day. They offer support for families, education, a place for children to feel encouraged and like any other child, and help navigate the uncertain and ever-changing waters that are type 1 diabetes. They fund research and are constantly striving to improve life for type 1 diabetics. Most importantly, they are fighting for a cure for type 1 diabetes.
If you find it in your heart, won't you please join this fight? By participating in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes and donating, you will directly fund research aimed at curing type 1 diabetes. You will become a warrior for our daughter and for millions others like her.
I will fight for our daughter's medical care. I will fight for her rights.
I will fight for her against discrimination. I will fight for her health.
I will fight for her life. I will fight for a cure.
She is my hero, and I will fight for her. Won't you please, too?
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Ms. Sherry Evans