February 21st is a day our family will never forget. It was on this day in 2014 that Shanley was diagnosed at the age of 2 with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and thus began our new “norm”.
T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin - a hormone essential to turning food into energy. It strikes both children and adults and is unrelated to diet and lifestyle.
People don’t see the struggle and strength behind everything Shanley does. At a glance, Shay looks like any other 6 year old. People comment on how tall she is for her age but then...they notice her fanny pack with tubing sticking out of it or the white device on the back of her arm. Adults will look curiously and kids will point and ask, “what’s that?”
We tell adults that Shanley has type 1 diabetes and it is managed using an insulin pump with a glucose sensor that she is connected to 24 hours a day. We tell them about having to check her blood sugar levels over 8 times a day (even at night when she is sleeping). We tell them about having to count carbohydrates for everything Shanley eats in order to calculate the amount of insulin she needs to convert that food into the energy her body needs to survive. Sometimes we tell them about how hard it is...the sleepless nights, the constant poking, the worrying, the expense; but until you have lived it, you have no idea.
We tell kids Shanley is sick and needs this device to keep her healthy and strong so she can play with you. They usually just shrug their shoulders as if to say, “that’s cool, come on Shay let’s go play.”
We don’t tell people that the insulin she takes gives her the gift of life each day, is the same insulin that has the power to take it away.
Shay is able to participate in lots of different activities but Mom or Dad or Grandma and Grandpa always have to be hanging around just to make sure nothing happens while she is being active. Right now Shanley doesn't mind this because she likes to show off her "mad skills”. She does gymnastics, hockey, softball and swimming. She also loves to sing and dance and is constantly putting on "shows" in our living room.
Shanley is a 1st grader at Ramalynn Montessori Academy in Bloomington. A special thank you to Ms. Julie, Ms. Cassy and Ms. Alyssa who have gone above and beyond to understand T1D and provide the necessary care for Shanley in school. Shanley's classmates have been so accepting and supportive of her and have made school a safe place for her to grow.
With T1D there are no days off, and there is no cure – yet. Your support of JDRF can help change that. By donating or joining our team today, you can help JDRF fund research that impacts the lives of the millions of children, adults, and families challenged by T1D every single day. With your support, we will turn Type One into Type None.
Together, our team is walking to create a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D). If you would like to walk with us on February 24th at the Mall of America, please register to join Team Sugar Shay and meet us at 8:15am at Kids Footlocker on the East Side, 2nd Floor. Shanley has decided to wear BLUE this year!
This is a day that Shanley looks forward to all year. We are so grateful to all those that walked with us last year. Please help us grow the number of people walking for Team Sugar Shay and really bring awareness to T1D.
"WE THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE TO TEACH OUR CHILD ABOUT THE WORLD...TURNS OUT WE HAVE TO TEACH THE WORLD ABOUT OUR CHILD"
Your donation will count towards the team's fundraising total. In addition, please give credit to the person that asked for your support to recognize them for their efforts in creating a world without type 1 diabetes (T1D).