Hello Everyone! Thank you for visiting my page.
Next month, I'll be taking part in this year's walk to raise funds for the millions of people living with and affected by diabetes. While JDRF's main focus is type 1 diabetes, I have confirmed they do participate in researching medications and promoting awareness programs for both type 1 and type 2 diabetics. I'd like to share with you my own personal reasons for participating in this walk and what this means to me. So, here we go...(this is the time to go grab popcorn, a drink, and a comfy chair. I promise this cheaper than the movies) Once you are ready to follow along, please bring your focus to the pictures I have provided. Please refer to the red# on the photo to match the story with the picture. :)
1. As the caption states and the number reflects, my dad is the main reason I'm interested in JDRF. I can remember being young and watching my dad test his blood sugar. He put his finger up to a device and like magic, a drop of blood was on his finger. How cool was that? I was so intrigued and being a normal curious kid, I asked him to test mine too. Well, (for those who know my dad, this probably doesn't surprise you) he loaded up the pen, I put my finger up to it and OUCH...he stuck me. I didn't know what being diabetic meant at the time, but i did know that there was no way i wanted my finger poked again. Thats one of the first memories I have of my dad being diabetic. This event takes place on September 28th. The following day, September 29th, will be the 15th anniversary of my dad's passing. I am normally pretty down around this time, as it's not really an anniversary I want to celebrate. However, I have decided this year is different. While diabetes was not the main cause of my dad's sudden death, it was a contributing factor. This year, I walk for you Dad.
2. This is my great Uncle Jimmy and the pretty lady is my great aunt Doris. Diabetes took a hard toll on her health, eventually losing half her leg to the disease. Sadly, in late 2011, she lost her battle. She loved the 4th of July and would always have a big family gathering. Each Independence day, I think of her. I will always remember her as a sweet, family oriented, patriotic woman. 82,000 people each year lose a leg or foot due to diabetes. My Aunt Doris is a reminder that there are diabetics who are unable to participate in the walk, due to a physical handicap caused by this disease.
3. Here I am with my coworker and one of my dearest friends, Susanne. At the young age of 14, she was devastated to learn that she would be living the rest of her life with Type 1 diabetes. I still cringe as she is giving herself an injection of insulin in her belly before lunch or when we go out for dinner. This is routine for her, however, I just can't imagine living life injecting myself several times per day. Type 1 diabetics have such a huge responsibilty forced upon them at such a young age. Hopefully with JDRF research, a new method can be developed to help Susanne manage her diabetes and live a more "normal" life.
4. This beautiful family is my cousin Alisha, her husband Chris and their adorable son Hayden. After experiencing several miscarriages, it was discovered Alisha was diabetic. For those that do not know, high glucose levels in a woman's body can actually damage cells that make up the embryo, resulting in a miscarriage. After learning how to manage her disease, she became pregnant again, but this time injecting herself with insulin several times per day. She experienced a rough pregnancy, resulting in bed rest. Little Hayden was born premature at just 3lbs 14oz. Luckily Hayden beat the odds, and is now a happy 4 year old. It was decided that Alisha should not have any more children due to her diabetes, so she underwent tubal ligation at the age of 29. Being only a month apart in age, my cousin is very much like a sister to me. She has shown me that life is too short to worry about what you can't/don't have, just be thankful for what is already there. Hayden is an extra special little boy!
5. Last, but certainly not least is a photo of my Uncle Larry and Aunt Peggy. My uncle is a heart transplant survivor, as he received a heart from an 18 year old donor, 14 years ago. He takes many medications, including steriods and anti rejection meds. Unfortunately, these meds are known to cause what is being called "Post transplant diabetes”. Diabetes raises the risk of organ rejection, dangerous infections, and death for transplant patients. With this in mind, keeping my uncle healthy is really a job for 2. Aunt Peggy helps him stick to his strict routine by remembering medications, his diet, testing, doctor appointments, warning signs/symptoms, records and everything else that is part of living with/being a transplant diabetic. They are both very strong and inspiring people. Uncle Larry is my walking reminder that life is worth living and fighting for.
So those are my personal stories about the people close to my heart who have fought/ fighting every day life with diabetes. Give yourself a moment to think if you have someone in your own life living with diabetes, and if not, I hope one of the people mentioned above inspired you to help JDRF work towards discovering a new medication, device, prevention, or even a cure to help them and/or future generations of diabetics.
I thank you very much for taking the time to read my page. If possible, please sponsor me in my walk to cure diabetes! No donation is too small and keep in mind there is a blank field available to donate any amount you choose. To do so, please click on the blue "Donate to Sheena" button in the upper left hand corner. If you are unable to donate at this time, I understand and hope you have learned something new about diabetes. Please feel free to share my story!
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Mr. Greg Huddleston