I didn't understand how scary T1D is for the person and their family. Earlier this year I met Lucia playing on the same Middle School volleyball team. We quickly became friends. One day after school while we were waiting for practice Lucia had low blood sugar and didn't realize it. She didn't see the warning text from her mom because she was playing soccer on the playground. Lucia has Type 1 Diabetes and Hypoglycemia Unawareness. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar to enter the cells to produce energy. Hypoglycemia Unawareness is a complication of diabetes when the person doesn't feel the natural warning signs of low blood sugar (palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, sweating). This could result in Lucia losing consciousness, having a seizure and even brain damage. Consistently high blood sugar is dangerous too, it can lead to blindness and even nerve damage that could result in the loss of feet.
Lucia lives life to the fullest. She does everything every other kid does and more! Even though she makes it look easy, it isn't. Her mom and dad (and teachers and friends) all constantly monitor her levels. She wears a sensor that is linked to a pump, but the sensor fails and needs to be changed every 5-10 days. One of her parents has wake up every two hours throughout the night, every single night to make sure that her levels are safe. Lucia can never have a sleepover. Lucia always has to have her phone with her so that she can get warning texts from her mom or dad. She carries around a backpack filled with supplies that help her manage her T1D. Lucia's academics are constantly interrupted by texts about her levels making it hard to learn. Lucia has a team of people and technology that keeps her safe and alive.
Technology has been game-changing in the battle against T1D but technology fails and that is really scary for a kid who also has Hypoglycemia Unawareness. This is where a Diabetic Alert Dog comes in. DADs are trained to the specific scent of their owner's high blood sugar and low blood sugar. If technology fails or Lucia isn't near her phone her DAD will let her know whether she is high or low. DADs will be there when technology fails in the middle of the night. Lucia's DAD will give her the freedom to participate and learn in class with minimal interruption. Her DAD will let her have her first sleepover at a friend's house.
Please help me raise enough money to purchase a Diabetic Alert Dog so Lucia and her family can worry a little bit less.
LifePup for Lucia website
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- Stacey Pardales
- Kelly Mulkern
- Heather Meier
- Karla & Michael Rubinger
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