I have never done this before and I am just putting it out there – no pressure.
On September 20th, I am walking in the Juvenile Diabetes walk. Almost exactly a year ago, my little cousin Ava – then only 5 years old – got very, very sick. For a short time, no one knew what was wrong with her until they tested her for diabetes and then suddenly her life changed dramatically.
I could give you facts and figures about juvenile diabetes, but a google search will get those for you easily. What I would like for you to know is what this disease does to a child and their family.
Since Ava’s diagnosis, she has endured hundreds of insulin shots and thousands of finger pricks. My hope is that someday no child will have to endure either. My friend Hedge can attest personally to the kind of havoc juvenile diabetes wreaks on a child and their family. Her son, Squidward, was diagnosed at just two years old – a baby who had no idea what was happening to him. He was lifeflighted and hospitalized and almost died. To date, he has endured more than 15,000 shots and finger pricks.
The parents of kids with diabetes worry constantly. They worry about the damage being done to their kids’ organs. They worry about what their child is eating when they are not in their sight. they worry about dialysis and transplants and life expectancy. They don’t sleep, because they have to wake up – often multiple times a night – to check their kids’ blood sugar levels.
The kids don’t sleep well, either – imagine having to have your finger pricked or get a shot in the middle of the night. They have parties in school and can’t eat the cookies or candy or birthday cake. They can’t have sleepovers with their friends because their parent isn’t there to check them in the middle of the night. On Halloween they go trick or treating but aren’t allowed to have any of the candy they get. Or they don’t go at all. They need special medicines, because most of the ones out there have sugar in them. They miss school and parties and sporting events and field trips because of illness and doctor’s appointments.
Juvenile diabetes is a debilitating and sometimes deadly disease that affects 3,000,000 people in the US, with 15,000 more children being diagnosed each year. Right now, there is no cure, but we are hoping to change that. So if you feel so inclined, please check out my walk page and donate:
But seriously – please don’t feel pressured or feel bad if you can’t donate. I mean what I say in the title – asking for stuff makes me very uncomfortable. Even as a child, I would no sooner ask for a piece of gum than I would ask for somebody’s firstborn. And I never participate in this kind of thing, simply because I hate to ask for donations.
But when I heard about “Ava’s Team”, I thought about that sweet, smart, beautiful little girl. And I thought about Squidward and I thought about the millions of other kids who are affected by it. And I figured that this time, I would deal with a moment’s discomfort and put it out there. Because that slight discomfort can’t compare to what these kids deal with every single day.