My name is Stella Grace Thrasher and I am 14 years old. I live in Atlanta, Georgia and today is Saturday August 12th, 2017. For most of you it is just another Saturday but for me today marks the eighth year that I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). I don’t remember much of that day 8 years ago but I also don’t remember what it was like to not have diabetes as part of my day to day life. Diabetes is my life even though I never asked for it. From Stella’s Mother Leslie: Our daughter Stella Grace was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes on August 12th, 2009. That was the day that our family’s (especially Stella’s) life changed forever. What you may not know about this disease is that insulin is not a cure, it is life support. Stella has to test her blood sugar 8 to 10 times every day. If she is “low” she needs to eat carbohydrates immediately to avoid fainting, seizures or falling into a coma. If her blood sugar is high, she feels sleepy, angry, weepy, and extremely thirsty. In this case we have to work immediately to bring her blood sugar back down. Prolonged highs will eventually affect her organs including her kidneys, liver and eyes. Every time Stella eats she needs insulin to correct her blood sugar for the carbs that she eats. No two days are the same; each and every day is a balancing act. It is heartbreaking to know that my daughter will live with this condition for her entire life unless a cure is found. Please help her with her dream of having a service dog to help manage her T1D. From Stella’s Father Chris: Today marks eight years of our daughter Stella living with Type 1 diabetes. We choose to celebrate this anniversary each year because Stella has made it through one more year with no major complications with a condition that she will have for the rest of her life. When she was diagnosed eight years ago one of the docs told us that we would “adjust” to this in time and that this would become our new normal. It has been eight years and I am still not adjusted to pricking her tender and sore finger tips ten times a day, or doing her site changes for her pump and continuous glucose monitoring system every three days. I don’t think I will ever adjust to waking up in the middle of the night and having that sinking feeling that she might be low or in a coma and getting out of bed, quietly going to her room putting my head to her chest and checking to see if she is breathing. No parent should ever have to have that be their new normal! Now that you know the story of how I got here, perhaps the best way I can share with you what having T1D is like is to share what it is like to live a "normal" day in my shoes. 7:00 a.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 269) Eat Breakfast (Calculate carbohydrate grams- for example 76 grams ingested). Administer insulin which is determined by counting the total number of carbs and factoring in my anticipated activity and then doing two calculations for insulin units for BG and carbs each and every time I eat. This can take the fun out of eating. 9:30 a.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 60) Have juice to bring my blood glucose up. 12:00 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 106) Eat my lunch and calculate the carbohydrates and administer Insulin 1:30 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 310). Time to give myself more insulin because I must have under-bolused for my lunch earlier. 2:05 p.m. Retest my Blood Glucose (Reading: 167). It is in my target range.... but for how long..... 4:00 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 105). I need to eat a small snack to ensure that I don’t go "low" before dinner. 6:00 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 196) Eat Dinner and calculate carbohydrates and administer insulin. 7:45 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 188) It is in my target range.... but for how long..... 9:00 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 56) I am in the danger zone of a diabetic crash. I need to drink a juice box right away and follow it with a snack that will hopefully hold my blood sugar up for the night. Check Blood Glucose again in 15 minutes. 9:15 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 70) It's coming up, but not high enough, check again in 15 minutes. 9:30 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 95) It's still coming up, but not high enough yet, check again in 30 more minutes.....this could be a long night..... 10:00 p.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 130) It's now on the low end of my target range and I am exhausted. My mom and dad will take it from here and continue to test me while I try and sleep because I already know that school will be tough tomorrow after a long night of this! 11:00 p.m. Retest Stella’s Blood Glucose (Reading: 167). It is in her target range.... but for how long..... 12:00 a.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 196). We can go to bed now but I will set the alarm for 3:00am so I can make sure that she does not go high or low again in the middle of the night. 3:00 a.m. Blood Glucose Check (Reading: 260) Insulin administered to reduce high Blood Glucose and I will check it again first thing tomorrow morning when I wake up. 7:00 a.m. It is a new day but yet another day of living with T1D and time to start the process all over again! Now that you have an idea of what it is like for me let me share with you why I started this GoFundMe campaign. The complications from having long-term diabetes are already starting to take its toll on me. From the high and low blood sugars over the last eight years to a recently diagnosed enlarged thyroid, the list of complications that happens from having T1D goes on and on. About a year ago I was watching TV and saw a story of a girl who was my age and also had T1D but the big difference between her and I was that her diabetes was much better controlled than mine was. The reason for this was that she had a Cares medical/service dog that helped to manage her diabetes. According to Cares, a service dog can help me lead a more confident and independent lifestyle, this is because my service dog will be able to detect high and low blood sugars. When I saw this girls story I immediately thought that if I could have a service dog like her I would be able to manage my diabetes so much better. I filled out the application and told them my story and sent it in to them and I was approved!! It has been one year since my approval and it typically takes 18 to 24 months to receive your service dog. These service dogs can cost as much as $30,000 but Cares has been able to keep their costs well below that because of gifts and grants that they have received that helps to offset the overall cost of these animals. When I receive my dog, it will have been through a rigorous training that lasts 18 months. I will have to go to Kansas for one week and be trained as to how to use my new service dog. If I am successful at raising these funds I will have enough money to pay for the dog and the training that I have to go through when my dog is ready to be picked up.