The first time I met Johnny Stipa, he was a cute and chubby baby, not even a year old. My newborn son Cole was just 7 months younger, but at that age, the difference in age seemed huge. As the years passed, those months mattered less. The boys played T-ball together, where Johnny was an instant standout, his love of the game and natural talent readily apparent from day one. And just last year, the boys started 1st grade together, and began what is likely a lifelong friendship. But just days before starting 1st grade, Johnny was rushed to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).
Over the last 14 months since Johnny's diagnosis, I have watched as he and his family have struggled to battle this terrible disease. Johnny has to check his blood sugar by pricking his finger as many as 10 times a day. He receives carefully calculated insulin injections as many as 8 times a day. Every bite of food he eats has to be factored into his insulin doses. Every meal and snack he eats means another shot. Johnny can't go to a friend's house without his trusty diabetes bag, and he can't go anywhere without his parents unless someone can be trusted to be responsible for his diabetes care. Neither Johnny or his parents has been able to sleep through the night since his diagnosis. His classmates have learned to keep an eye out for changes in his behavior that might signal a dangerous change in his blood sugar. His friends have learned what a carb is and how many of them can be found in all their favorite foods. Johnny and his mom are tireless advocates for awareness for T1D, and their strength inspired Cole and I to want to do whatever we can to help.
Next Sunday, Cole and I are walking to raise money for JDRF, in hopes to someday find a cure to this disease. Please take a minute to donate what you can -- $5, $10, or whatever you can afford. Johnny will be forever grateful
Type 1 diabetes is a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which a person's pancreas stops producing insulin - a hormone essential to the ability to get energy from food. It strikes both children and adults suddenly and changes life as they know it forever. It cannot be prevented and there is no cure.
JDRF is the largest nongovernmental funder of T1D research and the only global organization with a strategic research plan to fight T1D. This science is complex and costly, and every dollar JDRF is able to direct toward research comes from donors like you.
Thank you for your support!
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