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Join Team Jonathan in the fight to create a world without type 1 diabetes!

    In May, 2011, my son Jonathan was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The diagnosis came as a shock, since no one on either side of the family has ever had either form of diabetes. T1D is a life-threatening, autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, which the body needs to get energy from food. Managing the disease requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and a lifelong dependence on insulin. With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure.

    This year, Jonathan and I wanted to form a team for the Brevard 2014 Walk for a Cure to raise funds to improve the lives of millions of people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The money we raise will help the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) advance its strategic research plan to end T1D.

    Let me give you one example why Jonathan is my hero: Recently, he had his best basketball game ever. He's plays point guard, and we're so proud of how much he's progressed over the last month! But this game came with a price. There were only six players able to play, and that meant Jonathan needed to play nearly the whole game. Diabetes-basketball-game-management is extremely challenging, because of the huge energy demands the game places on the body. Things were going well until the 3rd quarter, when Jonathan started feeling nauseous and overheated. His blood sugar had dropped 150 points in 20 minutes, in spite of constant hydration with high-carb drinks. Rapid blood sugar drops can result in vomiting, but thankfully that didn't happen. What did happen was that in the few minutes he was on the bench the team lost their 6-pt lead, never got it back, and ended up losing the game by 3 points. Not sure my boy has ever been so upset in the hours that followed, feeling like it was his fault the team lost because he had to rest, and upset with the unfairness of having type 1 diabetes. Of course we spoke with him about how no one player determines whether a team wins or loses, how he gave 110% and we were proud of him, etc. We talked about what we could do in the future to deter rapid bs drops.

    But the truth remains: if he didn't have diabetes, he probably WOULD have been able to play the whole game; the outcome MAY have been different. These are the issues that type 1 diabetic athletes deal with during EVERY practice and EVERY game. Diabetes is both physically and emotionally challenging. Yet, in 2.5 years, this is only the 2nd time he's ever let diabetes get him down.

    Jonathan demonstrates perseverance in the face of adversity every day--besides being an outstanding athlete, he's also an Honor Roll student, musician, model, and character award recipient. We will continue to learn and improve managing J's diabetes during athletic competitions, but we need a cure, and the U.S. is far behind Europe in its research and innovations.

    JDRF was founded by a mom like me, and thanks to her vision, this organization now promotes cutting-edge research for a cure. I'm believing that by the time Jonathan graduates high school, he will have access to far better care for this disease using an artificial pancreas, encapsulation, restoration, or other advances, and never again have to deal with the anguished thinking that he possibly let his team down because of diabetes.

    JDRF is working every day to change that. And, as the largest non-governmental funder of T1D research, every dollar JDRF directs toward its research plan comes from donors like you.

    Please support my commitment and donate to my Walk fundraising efforts today. Your gift will make a difference for millions of people affected by this devastating, life-threatening disease.

    Thank you for your support!

    Barbara Bailey

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