April 14th is Raise Your Voice for Type 1 Diabetes Awareness Day.
Ethan was diagnosed with Diabetes when he was only 18 months. He's lived with it now for more than half his life. It's going on 3.5 years - which sounds like a long time now that I write it down, but it's gone by fast. When I think back to the time Ethan was diagnosed it all seems like a blur, but the thing that stands out to me was that I knew everything would be fine, that Ethan would deal well with the disease, and that it was something I could handle. I have to say, as diseases go, and if it was mandatory that my kid contracts one in his lifetime, I would probably pick Diabetes. It is a pain, granted, but it is very manageable. It is also a disease that I feel, has a great chance to be cured.
Studies are published all the time telling of the advances they are making for the cure. My FIL cut an article out for me just the other day in which researchers successfully conducted a study that used human stem cells to treat diabetic mice. The scientists cultured the cells for 12 days in a medium that directed them to become pancreatic cells. These were transplanted into mice whose own pancreatic cells had been deliberately destroyed, making them insulin-deficient. Within 45 days, new cells began producing fresh insulin. Amazing!
Celebrities Help Raise Awareness
Gary Hall has won 10 Olympic medals and he's going for more! In 1999, a little more than a year from the 2000 Olympics, Gary was diagnosed with Diabetes. He says, at the time of diagnosis, he was suicidal - his doctors had told him he needed to stop training. Now, he volunteers at Children's Hospital of Orange County by visiting with diabetic children and their parents. You can help Raise Awareness by cheering on Gary in the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games!
Elliot Yamin, previous American Idol contestant and current recording artist also has Type 1. Elliot is currently raising awareness by partnering with the JDRF (Juvenille Diabetes Research Foundation) to co-chair the Promise to Remember Me Campaign in Washington DC.
Little Ways You Can Raise Awareness
The next time you are at the grocery store check out Old Orchard's Healthy Balance line of juices. They have 10 different flavors which taste just like regular juice with only 6g of carb/8 oz of juice. There is 75% less sugar (good for all kids, not just diabetics) than regular juice - no cavities!! Plus Old Orchard will donate money to the JDRF for every label that is collected. Click on the link for a $5 Coupon.
Every state has a JDRF chapter that organizes multiple Diabetes Walks around their state throughout the year. Go to the JDRF website to find out when the next walk is scheduled for your area. This year, I will be participating in Orange County for the first time. I hope their walk is as fun as the walks in Wisconsin have been. The OC walk is scheduled for November 9th @ UCI. For all of you that read this that live in Orange County I better see you there!!
Ethan has been a total stud about his Diabetes. He was blessed, in my mind, to have been diagnosed before he was old enough to know anything different. If I tell him I need to test him, he doesn't fight it, he just sticks out his finger. Back when we were still giving him shots he didn't object to that either. Today, the pump he uses makes life a whole lot easier and less painful. He likes to push the buttons (that I tell him to push) and test himself sometimes. He is proud of his condition and likes to tell his friends about his pump and the fun trips to the zoo for the walk. He really has taken it all in stride. I hope and pray that Cohen will not follow in Ethan's footsteps, but I know if he is diagnosed he is going to have a pretty sweet role model of a brother to look up to. A big thanks goes out to all of our friends and family that have supported Ethan throughout all of this. We couldn't do it without you!