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Tag: Chicago / Story: Dietitian Mom & Type 1 Daughter Take On Diabetes / Story: Dietitian Mom & Type 1 Daughter Take On Diabetes


As a Dietitian, teaching people to make healthy eating choices is my life! It doesn’t sound as glamorous as being a rock star but I am truly passionate about helping those inflicted with medical conditions to be in the best health possible through optimal nutrition.

I remember it was Spring Break of 2011. You know the time where you are supposed to be carefree, celebrating the warm weather and basically life? Not for our family. I noticed my daughter losing weight; taking naps more and was increasingly thirsty. I went to bed that Saturday night thinking “Oh my God, she has Type I diabetes!” The next day I took her to the Pediatrician and told the staff that my daughter needs to take a urine sample. The Medical Assistant looked confused. I told her again. My daughter did just that and she was spilling glucose in her urine and her blood glucose level was 450 mg/dl!! We were instructed to proceed to the E.R. I remember frantically calling my husband who was at Trader Joe’s. I told him Mikayla then 6 years old has Type I diabetes! I had already lost one child; I was frightened! The E.R. doctor, nurses, phlebotomist and other staff members had to come get me in the E.R. waiting room when we arrived because my body froze! I couldn’t walk into the Emergency Room! It’s ironic because I worked in a hospital before!

I won’t dwell on it but I can tell you that caring for a Type I diabetic is difficult. I can tell you that it is a 24/7 job! I can tell you that I count carbs in my sleep! Carbs or Carbohydrates are macronutrient that Type I diabetics count the grams of to assist in managing their blood glucose levels. I don’t know if anyone can quite grasp the concept unless you have been there.

I am grateful that I have the knowledge to assist and educate my now 9 year old daughter about her medical condition. Yes, it is a blessing (and maybe sometimes a curse) that I am a dietitian and have a Type I diabetic kid. But aside from the medical aspect of this disease comes the emotional part. When my son passed away at 6 months old, I turned to music therapy as my strength. Music is an important part of my family’s life! I began to search for positive stories about Type I diabetes and came across the Bret Michaels’ Life Rocks Foundation!

I had the pleasure of meeting Bret Michaels, his band and his representative Patrick during a show in Chicago. I had never met anyone famous before and believe me when I tell you that Bret is an extremely kind person! His representative Patrick is wonderful! He hugged me when we met like we were old friends! Patrick knew my daughter’s name from the Bret Michaels’ Life Rocks Foundation sponsoring her for the week of diabetes camp! Very impressive memory! I told Bret that music is therapy, and that is how we found the Bret Michaels’ Life Rocks Foundation! I have always been inspired by music and to this day, I feel like music brings hope and strength to our family!

Diabetes camps are the best experience for Mikayla! The first year of her diagnosis she was angry but she realized that even though she was the only one at her school with Type I diabetes, there were many other kids going through the same stuff as she was! She became more accepting of her illness! I am one of the camp dietitians for the day camp in Chicago and it is one of the best work experiences I have ever had! I love those kids! They are all so kind-hearted and truly an inspiration to all of us! But some of these kids wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend diabetes camp without the financial assistance of the Life Rocks Foundation! This team works extremely hard to raise monies during their world-class shows and it’s truly a remarkable effort! If you have the opportunity to attend one of Bret Michaels concerts, you will not be disappointed!

Respectfully Submitted,


Do you have a story of giving back, supporting charities, overcoming obstacles, a story of strength, inspiration through music to battle through setbacks or illness? We’d like to hear and share your story and photos.

Simply visit, read other great stories and submit your own!

Also if you have the means and would like to, please consider donating to the Bret Michaels Life Rocks Foundation by visiting to show support in helping others.

Thank you for your continued support!

20131014-201026.jpg / story: American Diabetes Association Chicago Staff Attend Bret Michaels Concert / story: American Diabetes Association Chicago Staff Attend Bret Michaels Concert


Bret with ADA Chicago reps Sue Apsey and Mallory Dahlquist

A few of our friends from the American Diabetes Association of Chicago were on hand Saturday night to watch Bret rock Frankfort, IL and shared their thoughts with us…

Bret Michaels is an amazing man, he is warm, generous and understanding of the hardships of having diabetes. By providing scholarships and sending children to summer camp, Bret offers youth with diabetes an opportunity of a lifetime to learn more about managing their disease and meet others with the same condition so they do not feel so alone. We are so grateful for his commitment to helping these campers thrive and grow as individuals as well as diabetics.

– Mallory Dahlquist
ADA Chicago


We had a great time at the concert Saturday night. Lisa Testolin was so appreciative of the opportunity. As a mom of a Life Rocks Foundation scholarship recipient to send her child to camp, she felt honored to be able to meet Bret.

For Mallory, a Bret fan and so connected through the ADA, this was really special. Again, so many thanks for providing all of us with the chance to attend the concert and especially to meet with Bret. The concert was a great one and Bret is so warm and engaging to talk with.

– Sue Apsey
ADA Chicago