Type 1 Diabetes is no joke. I have it. My sister has it. I have a number of friends who have it. I know people who were taken from this world too soon because of it. There is currently no cure, but I’m hoping to help change that. I want to raise money to fund research for a cure, but first, let me share my diabetes story.
I was diagnosed 30 years ago as a 6-year old. I don’t remember much about that time, but I do remember being sent home from school one day with a note from my teacher. I was a good kid in first grade—straight A student, never caused trouble—and I knew that a teacher’s note meant something was wrong. I thought maybe I was in trouble for something I had not realized I had done. The contents of that note indicated that I was asking to go to the bathroom a lot, and that my teacher thought I should see a doctor.
My parents took me to see my pediatrician who insisted we head over to the Children’s Hospital. It was there I would spend 7 days with an IV in my arm and learning about pricking my fingers to check my blood and insulin shots. I even had to practice putting a needle into an orange in preparation for what would become my new normal. I didn’t realize at the time what this would mean for someone who loved chocolate and was crazy about playing baseball.
At this young age, I feel like I adapted pretty well to the needles. The no cake rule at birthday parties or the halloween treats trade-in—where my parents would pay me $10 for all of my halloween candy every year—I eventually became numb to. It was the call from my parents to come inside for dinner at 5pm everyday despite the ball games taking place in the backyard that made me hate it. The regimented schedule took a long time to get used to.
There are, of course, scary moments that come with being a diabetic. I have had my fair share of low blood sugars throughout the years, also called hypoglycemia, where I would essentially black out. For instance, my freshman year of college, I experienced a low blood sugar that resulted in me throwing a phone at my roommate, wandering around the halls of our dorm, and ultimately passing out on a community couch before an ambulance was called due to my unresponsive condition. And to be clear, no alcohol or drugs were involved. I don’t remember any of that. I recount that from the stories I’ve been told.
There have also been times where I would go to sleep for the night feeling fine. But, in the middle of the night, my dog would come in and cry and lick my hands and my face to wake me up. Since this was abnormal behavior for her, I would get up and check my sugar to find I was dangerously low. Had she not gotten me out of bed, it’s possible I could have slipped into a coma or worse. She was a great dog, and when she passed away I was distraught. I even wrote a letter to my kids about her.
In the 30 years I’ve had this disease, the technological advancements have been amazing. For the first 28 years of being a diabetic, I had to take approximately 38,000 insulin shots. Let that sink in for a minute. That’s 38,000 syringes. I don’t even like needles. I have also had to prick my finger about the same number of times. Two years ago, I was able to get an insulin pump which has helped me tremendously. The regimented schedule is less necessary. I only have to inject something into my body once every three days or so. I still have to prick my fingers, but I’ll take the wins where I can get them.
So, this leads me to the point I want to make. These advancements in medicine and technology are a godsend. People with diabetes are in much better positions to survive and thrive with a once deadly disease (though, it’s still deadly). The funding for these life-changing improvements comes from people like you and me. In three weeks, I will be participating in the annual JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) One Walk in Pittsburgh. I will be joining my family and friends, and hundreds of other people, in an effort to raise funds and awareness for diabetes. And I want to use my platform to help make a difference.
I would like to help raise awareness about Type 1 Diabetes by offering something in return for your donation to help make living with T1D a little easier, or better yet, find a cure. I am asking that you consider donating to this great cause to help others fight this disease. Heck, to help me. For every $10 you donate using the link below, I will draw an original sketch on a Post-it note and send it to you in the mail. We're trying to reach $500 by the time we walk.
To help raise money for this important cause and to take advantage of this offer, please follow these steps:
- Go to my team's fundraising page
- Click the “Donate” button
- Choose or enter your donation amount
- In the “Personal Note” field, please type in “I’m here to take out T1D through Lunch Note Sketch” or something along those lines.
- Send me an email at LunchNoteSketch@gmail.com with your mailing address, or you can contact me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or through my website, to let me know you donated and would like your note(s).
Please note: This offer is good from 9/2/2017 - 9/23/2017. Any and all lunch notes created will be at my discretion, so what you get will be a surprise. The note(s) you receive will be kid-friendly sketch(es) with a positive message in black ink on a 3x3 canary yellow sticky note. Ultimately, I have final say in what is created and no refunds will be issued. Or, as my kids like to say, “You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.”