Hello! As usual, I'll be taking part in JDRF's Walk to Cure Diabetes, hoping to raise money towards a cure.
Type 1, or juvenile diabetes, is a devastating disease that affects millions of people, a large and growing percentage of them children. As you know, Ellie lives with this disease every day and she is encouraged by the advancements that JDRF has helped make.
Ellie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 3. She has never let diabetes stop her from achieving her goals - and eight years later, Ellie is a straight-A student who loves to perform on the stage and ballet dance. If you didn't know any better, you'd think she was just like every other girl her age.
Ellie has to be acutely aware of her body and her glucose levels to perform to the best of her ability. If her blood sugar is dropping, Ellie can temporarily lower her basal rate or turn off her insulin pump altogether. She has no pockets to store a juice box or glucose tabs when she is on the stage or in the wings, so she usually has to stash Lifesaver candies around the stage and/or with the backstage help. If her blood sugar is high, she can not concentrate on the dance steps or have accurate timing. She will check her blood sugar often before a performance to make sure she can correct with insulin before she steps onto the stage.
In addition to performing theater and Ballet, Ellie plays soccer and participates in Ski Club. In each situation, she assesses what she needs to do to be best prepared and what measures need to be in place for her to feel safe and perform at her best. This can be as simple as having a safe place to keep her diabetes kit or determining where to place her Omnipod to fit underneath her costume or uniform. At other times it is maintaining the delicate balance of food and activity level or remembering to turn off alarms on her insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. She is quite the multi-tasker!
Ellie enjoys being on stage, and she also enjoys taking opportunities to promote JDRF as a Youth Ambassador. She has honed her public speaking skills by talking to companies and other groups about the importance of fundraising for a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. She is a great role model for other young children diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and enjoys telling her story and spreading her optimism. Ellie is very hopeful that there will be a cure for diabetes in her future, but until then she will continue to stay positive and dance into tomorrow.
This year Ellie began middle school and we hope that by the time she begins college, there will be a cure for Type 1 Diabetes. JDRF is our best hope for finding a cure. It funds more type 1 diabetes research than any other charity worldwide and it's making progress along many promising paths toward better treatments and a cure.
Now, more than ever, you can make a crucial difference. Won't you please give to JDRF as generously as possible? Together, we can make the cure a reality!
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Larry & Karen Hitchcock
Scott and Kerry Wendelburg