Hi everyone! You are likely visiting my page today because either I know you personally or my parents do. First, I want to say I know I'm really a very blessed kid: I have a great family, I play soccer, run track, take piano lessons, hang out with my friends, and do all the other things a typical girl my age (15 this February) would do!
Yet I also do things every day that are not typical. To deliver the insulin that keeps me alive (since my pancreas doesn't produce any), I check my blood sugar with a finger prick at least 6 times a day--more if I'm sick or my "numbers are off." I plan what and when I eat based on how the insulin I take with my food will affect me. I insert an insulin catheter every 3 days using a needle that's more than 1-inch long. That's an average 2,190 finger pricks and 122 site changes every year.
Diagnosed in 2005, I see a specialist regularly to check for organ damage and other potential health complications. So far, so good but I have had a couple of "scares." Even though I work very hard to take the best possible care of myself every single day, my life expectancy dropped 10 years when I was diagnosed. And, while there have been great improvements in how people with Type 1 diabetes are able to take care of themselves, we live with the daily threat of diabetic seizures and health issues like heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, blindness, and more.
Did you know there are over 50,000 people in Hennepin County and about 28 million people in the U.S. that have Type 1 diabetes? That's almost 9% of our population! With both genetics and environmental triggers to blame, about 2 million more people are expected to be diagnosed each year! When I started Maple Grove Junior High two years ago, there were about 10 kids affected in the school. Today, about 1 in 300 kids have Type 1 Diabetes. With more kids diagnosed every day, it's very likely that you know someone besides me with Type 1 diabetes and that if you don't, you will! Don't like these numbers? Me either! So let's find a cure!
I truly hope and pray every day that there will be a cure in my lifetime for me and for all kids. That is why I am asking you to again, please support me in this year's Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk to Cure Diabetes. You can donate to the cause on my website at the link below. I would also love if you could make it the walk at 8 a.m. on February 23rd at the Mall of America. As always, I am so thankful to those of you that have donated before and/or that come to walk with me. I know there are so many worthy causes that need help and that's why it means even more to have your support. Won't you please help make the cure real in my lifetime?
With love & thanks,
Meghan Coughlin (with Joe, Shannon, Ryan and Caitlin)
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