It was the middle of summer, I was 15 years old, and I was Hawaii with my mother, father and sister. I was drinking 5-6 gallons of fluids/day, losing weight,my vision was getting a bit blurred,my body ached a lot. But I never imagined it would be Type 1 Diabetes.
When I got home my mom took me to the hospital and after many tests, the doctor came back and told me that I had diabetes. I was shocked. I didn't know much about diabetes and less about it's impact on my life. I went home defeated since I was given this load that I must now carry for the rest of my life. Something that would affect nearly every aspect of my life. Over the next 6 months I went through weeks worths of classes to learn to count carbohydrates, how to diet, how to give shots, how to test my blood, when to test my blood and everything else for this crash course on how to live. I had to teach myself to watch everything I ate and monitor it very closely, which was quite a feat when in your teens - to completely change your lifestyle. Everything was very hard to accept, but with the help and support of my family, especially my mother, I got through it. She went to every doctor visit with me, learned everything about carbohydrates and meals with me, learned the affects of diet and exercises, and helped me stock up on meat and cheese (diabetic-friendly foods, as there are no carbohydrates in them). This really helped ease the transition into becoming diabetic as I knew I had someone to fight in my corner, even when I didn't want to. The one thing I had to do on my own was give myself my shots and check my blood, since she didn't want to have anything to do with giving me any pain, but I easily got used to that. Throughout the rest of high school my family and friends really helped build me up and create a wonderful base for me to build on.
During my college years (at the University of Minnesota Duluth), my diabetes became very hard to manage due to the changes, influences of others and the freedom from home. It was especially tough to leave back my support system that had built me up over the years. To help with this, I joined the alpine (downhill) ski team to help create that support structure that I needed. The team welcomed me with open arms and I lovingly got the nickname "Diabud", which was short for Diabetic Buddy. From there I built some very strong relationships and again I had my support system and base.
Shortly after moving back home after college, my mom came down with cancer. My biggest supporter and advocate of my health. Interestingly enough, it was pancreatic cancer, as if she was trying to take the diabetes right from me, so I could be free of this disease and not worry about it.
At this same time, I also met the greatest person I have ever met (outside of my family of course), who would later become my wife, Melissa. She instantly became my greatest cheerleader in life and diabetes, being the base I needed to keep me going. She has become the greatest gift I have ever received. We wed on September 30, 2012 and had the greatest wedding with the entire family present. It was a day to remember for lifetimes.
The following week my mom passed away after her long fight with cancer, but not before instilling in me the importance of health and family. I would like to thank my mother, father, sister, wife, friends and family for their constant support and for caring for me. I owe everything to each one of you.
Even though I have had a JDRF Walk for the Cure team for 10 years now, I am now becoming more active and more dedicated to the cause. I hope that you can back me in the fight to cure Type 1 diabetes, to support not only those that have T1D, but also for all of the families supporting those that have the disease.
Please help contribute in any way you can to support this cause. Thank you for your support and I hope to see you on the day of the walk.
Welcome to my personal JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraising page! I'll be taking part in this year?s Walk to raise funds to improve the lives of all people affected by type 1 diabetes (T1D). If you ask people with T1D, they will tell you it is difficult and life threatening. And they know it never goes away.
I am asking for your support. Please donate to my personal fundraising efforts. By doing so, you can help me make a difference for millions of people living with type 1 diabetes.
Did you know that:
As the leader of the type 1 diabetes community, JDRF unifies global efforts to cure, treat and prevent T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible?
Thank you for your support!
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Gary Wells Fargo Workplace Giving
Gary Wells Fargo Workplace Giving
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