Dear Family and Friends, It’s that time of year again! I will be participating in my 2nd Walk to a Cure this fall in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. As you all know, in July of 2008 at the age of 8, I was diagnosed with Type 1 (Juvenile) Diabetes. Life for me and for my family was never the same. Since then, daily life for me has revolved around the many tedious and painful tasks associated with diabetes. Like every person with Type 1 Diabetes, I must check my blood sugar at least 10-12 times a day. I must count every carbohydrate that I eat and give myself insulin every time I eat.
I was getting about 8 shots a day but in March 2009, I got my first insulin pump. I am now able to give myself insulin with the press of a button. The insulin enters my body through a small cannula in my skin. The infusion set gets changed every 3 days. These tasks go on 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at school, on vacation, on holidays, when I’m sick, and when I’m playing. It doesn't stop. I do these things to not only keep myself alive, but to ward off the devastating complications that can arise from out of control blood sugar; eye disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, heart disease and stroke. Every family touched by diabetes must do the same.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease – My body has attacked itself and has stopped my pancreas from making the cells that make insulin. Insulin, in the very simplest terms fuels the body. I must take that insulin by injections or my insulin pump. But insulin isn't a cure for me. It only keeps me alive. Without the insulin I inject, I would die within days. Since the discovery of insulin in 1922, they haven't found anything that actually cures diabetes. They've made many advances in technology to help people with diabetes live better and longer lives, but these aren't cures. And that's what I want: A CURE.
Luckily, for me, we do have the technology that allows me to live a pretty normal life. I love to ride my bike. I enjoy long days at Busch Gardens and I enjoy playing with my friends. But diabetes is always there! Swings in blood sugars affect my daily performance and attitude, so I have to constantly check my sugar, take my insulin, watch my activity & food and find a good balance. At school, I test my blood sugar 3+ times a day, often missing out on valuable class time. Just a simple bike ride requires carrying supplies of fast acting glucose, a water bottle and my blood sugar monitor.
So while my life is just like any other 9 year old, and I rarely complain about my diabetes, I must constantly be alert, constantly be on guard, because diabetes is always there. The good news is that a cure for Type 1 Diabetes is within reach. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is the leading charitable funder and advocate of Type 1 Diabetes research worldwide. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.3 billion to diabetes research, including more than $156 million in FY2008. In FY2008, the Foundation funded more than 1,000 centers, grants in laboratories, hospitals, and industry, and fellowships in 22 countries.
This year, our family will be taking part in JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes on October 17, 2009 at York High School at 9am and I’m asking for your support because now more than ever, each of us can play a part in bringing about a cure. Each of us can make a real difference, for me and all the children and adults like me. Please help us meet our goal of $10,000 this year! Thanks to each of you that supported my team last year and continue to support us this year. We couldn’t have done it without you! Please visit http://www.walk.jdrf.org/ and register for the team Diabetes Sweeties. If you can’t walk, we still welcome ANY donations and you can donate under my name, Kacey West. You can make the check out to JDRF and ALL donations are tax deductible. With any donation over $25, you will receive a team t-shirt. The shirts are not the same ones you received last year so please be sure to let us know your size! For every business donation over $50, we will feature an advertisement in the books we will be handing out. Please include your business card with your donation. You will receive a FREE copy of the book.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email my mom, Jill.
I look forward to having a bigger team than I did last year and I can’t wait to meet everyone on walk day!
Thanks again for all your support!
With All My Love,
& The Diabetes Sweeties Team