Welcome to my personal fundraising page for the 32nd Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes!
My baby brother, Kevin, has Type 1 Diabetes. I remember it being a hard time for him and my mom constantly worrying about him and getting emotional every time she told people about his disease. I knew it was a big responsibility for him; for the rest of his life he had to give himself a shot and be very conscious of his diet. My mom wanted Kevin to feel like he could eat normal foods and would get him special sugar free pies and candy, which were delicious but only for Kevin. To me, Kevin having diabetes meant he couldn’t have the same desserts we ate and if he had pop, it had to be diet. But there was more to it than that.
Kevin usually does the Beat the Bridge run, but since he now lives in New York I wanted to do the run in honor of him. Here is his story:
Kevin was 14 years old when he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. He was an active and athletic kid. In the summer of 2000, is when Kevin became focused on a healthy diet, running, exercising and lifting weights. The diet and exercising was working, Kevin went from the meaty kid with the chubby cheeks to a lean teenager.
He was losing weight at an incredible rate but my mom and the rest of the family were getting worried. He was getting thin, like ribs showing thin. This wasn’t normal.
A trip to the doctor and a few tests later, and the outcome was Type 1 Diabetes. My mom tells it best the way she described Kevin’s reaction to his diagnosis. She said the doctor delivered the news and left the room. Then Kevin just looked at Mom, and big tears just started to flow down his face.
Kevin’s life was turned upside down. He wasn’t a normal 14 year old, now he would have to be very responsible for everything he ate, accounting for carbohydrates and pricking his finger 5-10 times a day to check his blood sugar. This was his life and this is what he had to do forever.
Surprisingly, for a 14 year old, Kevin was very responsible. He took having Diabetes very seriously and wasn’t ashamed to discuss or explain what he was doing to the other kids or parents who were curious. One time, he told me that I had to learn how to use the insulin shot in case something happened to him. He gave me his shot and told me to give him the shot in his abdomen. That put it all into perspective, something could happen to Kevin, and I would have to do this to save him.
When he got his insulin pump is when he gained some form of regularity, normalcy, and variety in his diet. Finger sticks still existed, but shots were a thing of the past. Also, now he could eat whatever he wanted (in reason to a normal healthy diet); it just had to be accounted for and dialed enough insulin.
When you're diabetic, you plan things out. You plan where you're going to eat. You plan when you're going to eat. You plan where you might get food if your blood sugar drops too low. While you can still live a fun and active life, it's a bit more difficult to fly "off the seat of your pants" and go with the flow. There are a lot of things you have to worry about.
For me, when I am with Kevin and we are out and about, he usually takes advantage of my big purse to carry his checker and snacks. In our family we joke, that you know when Kevin is nearby, when you see his test strips or test strip wrappers scattered throughout the house.
Diabetes is expensive, from the strips, insulin and pump supplies. But these things are important and necessary to live. Insulin pumps are great, and make life for a diabetic much easier. But he always has to have a small device with 23inch tubing hooked up to him. It’s a happy medium between a normal life as a diabetic and having to responsibly handle being diabetic.
I'm joining this year's event to raise funds to improve the lives of millions of people with type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The money I raise will help JDRF advance its strategic research plan to end T1D.
T1D is a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, which the body needs to get energy from food. Managing the disease requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and lifelong dependence on insulin. With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure.
JDRF is working every day to change that. And, as the largest nongovernmental funder of T1D research, every dollar JDRF directs toward its research plan comes from donors like you.
Please support my commitment and donate to my fundraising efforts today. Your gift will make a difference for millions of people, like my brother Kevin, affected by this devastating, life-threatening disease.
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Elaine Del Rosario
Erika Lynne Arthun
Oda Del Rosarrio