Dan’s Fans will again be gathering in Murfreesboro on October 19 to walk for a cure for Daniel. This isn’t about raising funds; it’s about raising hope—hope to conquer a disease that I’ve come to know all too well in the last sixteen years. Here are a few things that I’ve learned about type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. It’s not caused by eating too much or exercising too little. For reasons scientists don’t yet understand, Dan’s immune system killed his insulin-producing Beta cells.
Type 1 diabetics are dependent on insulin. Except in rare cases or the “honeymoon phase,” type 1 diabetics must have insulin to survive. If Dan were to go a week without it, best-case scenario, he would be in the hospital with ketoacidosis (ketone poisoning).
Insulin is a treatment, not a cure. Like chemotherapy to cancer, insulin only treats type 1 diabetes. Unlike chemotherapy, insulin injections will not ever rid his body of the disease.
Type 1 diabetes is expensive. For the basics—a “guaranteed” insurance policy (the only policy that will cover him), insulin, and daily testing and pump supplies—we pay $1000+ each month. A standard insulin pump (every 5 years) is about $6500. And that’s while he’s healthy. The complications of the disease will only multiply those numbers.
Type 1 diabetes is painful. Dan draws blood from his fingers five or more times each day and inserts a pump site (an IV needle in his stomach) every three days. A high blood sugar gives his body flu-like aches, and a low makes him feel—as he describes it—like he can’t get enough oxygen. These are all normal; the long-term complications are unthinkable.
And that’s the easy part. You’ll never hear Dan complain about all of this, because he knows it could be worse. He is well aware of the long-term complications, and he was supposed to start seeing those six years ago. After sixteen years of living with Type 1, for every day that he can feel his toes, his kidneys function, he can see, and his heart still pumps, we are grateful.
JDRF is fighting for Daniel. Each year, JDRF discovers new treatments and makes leaps and bounds toward a cure. For us, for Dan, this is personal. When we see artificial pancreas tests, we imagine a life with no blood-sugar sticks. When we see Beta-cell encapsulation trials, we imagine a day with no highs or lows or outrageous premiums or worries about going blind. When I ask you to donate or walk for JDRF, it’s not for some feel-good charitable event; it’s for a few more years with my husband.
I can’t make Dan’s diabetes go away. I can only watch and pray when blood sugars are low or high or the eye doctor has bad news. But I can write this letter. I can ask you to help Dan and the other millions of people, many of them children, who are discovering for themselves the facts of Type 1 diabetes.
Please help us in the fight against this disease. Please join us to walk and donate and pray.
Team Captain of Dan’s Fans
|Denotes a Team Captain|
Jessie Clark - Bake Sale
Matt & Christie Taylor
Mr. Daniel Parker
Mr. David A Parker
Mr. Douglas Jenkins
Mr. Ethan Parker
Mr. Michael Hughes
Mr. Tony McLain
Mrs. Amy Michelle Parker
Mrs. Danielle Baker
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