Sunday, September 13, 2009
I am writing this on behalf of my daughter, Maya, who was diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes on July 22, 2008. It is a date no one in our family will ever forget, as it has forever divided our lives into two distinct parts: pre- and post-diabetes.
Only 5% to 10% of all diabetics are type 1. It is not known exactly how one gets the disease, but there is certainly a genetic component, and either a viral or environmental trigger which allows it to develop. This diagnosis means that the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. To survive, people with type one diabetes must test their blood sugar level by pricking their finger for blood, and take multiple insulin injections daily.
Maya currently needs 6+ finger pricks, and 6 to 10 insulin injections each day to stay healthy. That means that I, as her mother, have poked my daughter with a needle at least 4500 times in the last 13 months. No matter how much she runs, hides, or cries, these pokes are not negotiable. The complications are just too devastating: blindness, heart attack, kidney failure, stroke, nerve damage, amputations, death.
Maya is doing very well. She does everything any 4 year old girl should do. She takes ballet and soccer, has tea parties, and is very excited to be attending pre-kindergarden at St. Gabriel’s. Her routine is different than it once was. She must be monitored very closely; every carbohydrate she eats must be counted and compensated for with insulin injections. But she is active and happy, and for that we are very, VERY grateful.
The reason I am writing is not just to inform you of our situation and how Maya is doing, but to ask for your support. On October 31st, our family will be taking part in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Walk to Cure Diabetes at Mueller Lake Park in Austin. JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes research worldwide. Insulin keeps people with diabetes alive, but it is NOT a cure. It does NOT prevent any eventual, devastating complications. The good news is that a cure is within reach.
This will be an important day for Maya. It will allow us to show her that she is not alone in her fight against diabetes. Money raised on this day will help JDRF to fund the cure. Please consider supporting Team Maya either by walking with us, or making a tax-deductible charitable contribution. Some companies will match donations, so check with your employer about doubling the power of your gift.
We would love to have you walk with us on Halloween morning (It will be FUN, i promise! Costumes are optional; Maya is going as Little Red Riding Hood.) and/or show your support to Maya by making a donation - it's EASY! In the left-hand margin of my profile page there is a picture of a THERMOMETER; click on the SUPPORT ME NOW button and you're there! Thank you. Really.