Dear Friends and Family,
As you all know, on February 7, 2013, our lives were changed forever. Becca hadn't been feeling well for a few weeks, was cranky, irritable, drinking and eating excessively, losing weight, and having frequent accidents. We took her to the doctor at my mother's urging and found out, just one week shy of her 3rd birthday, that Becca had Type 1 Diabetes.
We then spent 6 grueling nights in the hospital learning everything we could about this horrible disease, and our new reality.
We were shocked to say the least. For no one in our family had diabetes. Becca was a pretty healthy eater, choosing lettuce over cookies, and water over juice nearly all the time. Then we learned that the type of diabetes Becca has is caused by a virus that attacked her pancreas and destroyed her beta cells that create insulin. Without insulin, one cannot break down carbohydrates and glucose builds up in the blood. Now, Becca requires constant care. She needs to have her blood sugar checked each and every time she eats, and throughout the night, and any time she seems out of sorts. She needs to have insulin injected in order to eat any food at any time. Blood glucose levels are affected by not only food but stress, illness, medication, and hormones, exercise, even changes in temperature.
People with Type 1 diabetes run the risk of immediate danger which can be caused by high levels of glucose (aka high blood sugar) in her blood; this can cause ketones, which can make her very sick and lead to hospitalization, siezures, and or diabetic coma or death. It also can result in low blood sugar, which can cause imbalance, fatigue, difficulties concentrating, and can also result in siezure or death. Long term complications that result from high levels of glucose over time are blindness, kidney failure, heart and cardiovascular difficulties and amputations caused by poor circulation. It is a horrific disease that changes everything.
Sixty years ago, a child diagnosed with T1D was not expected to live past 45. Thirty years ago, a child diagnosed with T1D was not expected to live much past 60. Now, because of foundations such as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a child living with T1D has a much better chance to live to become a grandparent. But still, the risks remain, the QUALITY of those years are questionable, and the fear of an emergency never goes away. With your help, we can continue to help the JDRF fund continual research to help make living with Type 1 diabetes more bearable. There are trials beginning very soon that allow for beta cells to be implanted into someone's body to help break down the carbohydrates that they ingest without insulin supplementation. Although this is not a cure, it is a promising development that can ease some of the burden of those with T1D and their families. Researches are looking into developing artificial pancreases as well as vaccinations. But these advancements can only take place with our support.
I invite you to join me, Rob, Ethan, and Becca to support the JDRF by being part of Team Becca as we walk on October 6 in Yonkers, or to fundraise, or make a personal donation. Together, we can help Becca and those suffering along with her, to live a life free of fear and worry, and to enjoy her time on this planet (and in her clubhouse).
With affection and appreciation,
Alison, Rob, Ethan, and Becca
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