We are writing to you on behalf of our daughter, Maya, who was diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes on July 22, 2008. It is a date 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 pricks her finger to check her blood sugar level 8+ times during a typical day. She also receives 10+ doses of insulin calculated by me or one of the school nurses, through the insulin pump she wears on her belt each day. The pump site must be changed every three days. These are minimums, just to stay healthy.
In the two years since diagnosis, we have stuck our daughter with needles 8500+ times for blood sugar checks, insulin injections and site changes. 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 gymnastics and drama classes, loves to do art projects and ride her scooter, and is very excited to be attending kindergarden. 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 Maya’s progress, 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. 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.
PS If you prefer to make a donation by check, please make it out to JDRF and write Maya Cidale’s Team in the memo space so that it will count towards our family’s personal fundraising goal. Your check can be mailed to JDRF, dropped by our house, or Maya and I would be happy to pick it up!