In August of last year we started noticing a change in our 11 year old daughter. She was very cranky and others commented on how much water she was drinking. She was always complaining that she didn’t feel well often and began snapping at her family. We blamed it on hormones and hoped she would go back to her happy self soon. When we left for a week vacation to go to my brother’s wedding in Colorado I was shocked how many times we had stop for her to go to the bathroom on that long road trip. In South Dakota we stopped to eat and she began throwing up for an hour and we ended up having to get a hotel room. How we got there and through that week in Colorado I don’t know. She slept a lot of the time and whined that she didn’t feel the rest of time. On the day of my brother’s wedding her pants were falling off her because she had lots so much weight and she looked very gaunt. I am not sure how we made it home ok, but we did. The day after we got back I took her into the doctor’s office convinced she had a bladder infection. I remember the nurse practitioner saying that there was sugar in her urine and she had lost 20 pounds. She informed me that my daughter needed to get blood drawn and immediately go to another hospital 1.5 hours from our home. It was all a world wind. My daughter was crying because she thought she was dying, my 9 year old son because he thought his sister was dying, and I crying because I was just scared. It’s amazing how your life can change in a moment. At the hospital they informed us that the blood test came back and her blood sugar level was at 900. She was immediately admitted into the hospital. The next 24 hours were filled with blood glucoses checks, insulin shots, no sleep, and lots of education. It has been so amazing to see my daughter step up to the challenge though. She went from being deathly afraid of shots to giving herself shots in a matter of a week. As her blood sugars improved we got our energetic happy child back again. It has been a hard adjustment . Some days she get frustrated and angry with diabetes. Sometimes she even has trouble sleeping because she is afraid that she is going to go to sleep, go low in the middle of the night, and not wake up. Thankfully there are more good days than bad and each day it seems to be getting a little easier. We like to focus on those days instead of the bad ones.
One of the things that helped her during this time has been getting two American Girl dolls for Christmas. One of the dolls is one that is supposed to look like her. Looking through the catalog she saw that American Girl had service dogs, glasses, hearing aids, braces, wheelchairs, and food allergy lunches, but didn’t have anything for diabetics. She wanted a doll that really was just like her and was tired of being different. Then she saw an online petition on change.org and asked if she could write a petition to get American Girl to make diabetic supplies and insulin pumps for their dolls. I thought it was a great idea and encouraged her. After all you can’t change anything if you don’t try. Starting this petition has brought her such joy and lifted her spirits. She was really excited when her story was featured on national news stations. The outpouring of support and messages from all over the world has been so encouraging to her during this tough time. Our whole family is behind her and we know that this will become reality. Diabetes is touching everyone lives and currently there are 371 million people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes worldwide and that number is expected to rise to 552 million people by the year 2030. We feel like these accessories would not only benefit diabetic girls, but also the millions of girls who have a sibling or loved one with diabetes and fit in perfectly with the American Girl brand. Our vision goes beyond American Girl just making diabetic accessories. We would like to raise money so that we can donate as many of these accessories as possible to newly diagnosed girls in the hospital. We want them to feel special and know that they are not alone especially during that very difficult time of just being diagnosed. When my daughter got diagnosed they sent home with only boring educational books and nothing fun or comforting. We just starting creating care packages for newly diagnosed boys and girls called Boxes of Joy for Diabetics filled with stuffed animals, a fleece blanket, medical alert necklaces, food scale, kids books featuring diabetic characters, a sharps containers, collapsible measuring cups and more.
On October 4th our JDRF chapter is hosting a Walk to Cure Diabetes event in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. We decided to set a big goal this year. We are looking to make JDRF history with the largest family walk team ever. We are hoping to get 300 walkers to participate and raise $100,000. It is exciting to see everything falling in to place and we have already gotten a national company to sponsor us.
Thank you for all the encouraging stories you post on your website. It is so comforting to see other handling hardships in a positive way and always lift my spirits.
With a grateful heart,
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