Welcome to my personal fundraising page for the 32nd Annual Nordstrom Beat the Bridge to Beat Diabetes! Thank you for receiving this note and taking time to read on...forgive its length.
As many of you know this is very personal quest for me and our entire Family.
Just over 3 years ago on November 11, 2010, at a late afternoon Doctors appointment, our 13 year old daughter Olivia was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes. There had been some clues previous to this appointment but we just could not believe it could be happening. (more on this below) She was rushed to Children's Hospital with a blood glucose level over 750 (normal is 100). She was in what is called a hyperglycemic state and needed immediate hospitalization. At that point I didn't fully know what all of this meant...but when my wife called and told me to meet her at the Hospital ASAP! (and detecting the controlled terror her voice,) I knew our lives had changed in a significant way. When I got to the Hospital room Cheryl was in the hospital bed with Olivia holding her…It was heart breaking for all of us. We didn’t really understand why this had happened (it is still unknown why and how someone gets this disease). With other family joining us at the hospital we cried and hugged and then…as many before us, we started the journey of learning how to deal with Type 1 Diabetes every minute of every day. Cheryl and I became “nurses” and for 8 months or so we gave her 3-5 shots every day. We went through nearly 1000 needles as she was not allowed to go on a pump for this first period of time. Once a day we went to the middle school to check her blood glucose and give Olivia the insulin shots. She was so amazingly courageous.
Livi (as she is commonly called) is our hero. She doesn’t really want the title, but she has earned it. To look at her you may not even realize that she has Type 1. She can make it look easy at times as she tries/works so hard to be "normal". But if you go to one of her soccer games, or basketball games or Drill competitions or if you are around her everyday…then you would see…when most folks Pancreas is hard at work producing insulin (and keeping them feeling normal) Olivia’s pancreas is not working and she must test and try to calculate how much insulin to give herself or how many carbs she needs to consume to keep in a “normal” range. Its constant, and night time can be especially concerning. There are so many variables…it just isn’t easy, and its not all just mathematical (i.e. counting carbs), it’s also many other factors at play like what kind of physical exertion she will have, or has had, how much stress, how long will she be doing the exercise, what has she eaten, hormones etc.…with all of this, she rarely complains.
Before the diagnosis Livi was rail-thin and we thought is was because she was playing 3 sports and was just so busy…On returning from a leadership weekend she got in the car explaining she had been extremely/unusually thirsty and some other physical changes were bugging her (I thought they had served to much popcorn during the nightly movies), but after bringing it up again, Cheryl made the Doctor appointment. Of course we looked up these symptoms on the internet and Type 1 diabetes came up…but we just could not believe that could happen to our daughter…how could she have gotten this??? We still do not know.
I know it can be confusing at times because you may hear on the radio or TV that “You can cure your Diabetes”…that is so frustrating to a parent with a child with T1D. There is no cure for T1D period.
Note: fortunately many Type 2 Diabetics can control their diabetes and possibly even cure it through proper diet and exercise habits as Type 2 diabetes is primarily physiological and is more of a problem with the liver and consuming to much sugar.
NOT SO WITH T1D (Type 1 Diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes) it 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 (Olivia has pricked her finger and tested her Blood Glucose over 6000 times since being diagnosed), and until there is a cure is afflicted with a lifelong dependence on insulin. With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure.
However, 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.
I'm joining this year's event to raise funds to improve the lives of millions of people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) (for example I am so thankful that Olivia can now be on a pump that was developed with this research so she no longer has to give herself those nasty shots J). Also research and testing is now being done on an artificial pancreas. But what we really want is the CURE!! The money I raise will help JDRF advance its strategic research plan to end T1D for Olivia and for all of those who have this disease.
Please support my commitment and donate to my fundraising efforts today. Your gift will make a difference for Olivia and millions of people affected by this devastating, life-threatening disease.
Cheryl and I and our team “OliveUs fortheCURE” Thank you so much for your support!
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Michael Snell and Family