Jen: Giving Back

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Awesomeness. That is the best word to describe the kinds of contacts we've made since our son's diagnosis with type 1 diabetes. Tears pour down my cheek when I consider the blessings and the service and the hope and the effort that have touched our lives in so many ways.

It all started with first diagnosis. I'll never, ever forget how incredibly hopeful our very first diabetes instructor made us feel! We were SO new to diabetes, we had so many misconceptions, so many fears, and she made us feel like we could get through this -- and most importantly, that James' life could be great. And it really is!

I cry whenever I consider the sacrifice and outpouring of love that my family gave us when we were so new to diabetes. The visits in the hospital, the meaningful gifts, the willingness to learn and to mourn with us are priceless memories that we will always cherish!

The many people that we've met in the diabetes community have made a difference in my life in a million ways. When I mentioned on a website that I preferred a certain type of glucometer, I received a private message from another member asking if she could send me an extra of hers! A Facebook® friend walked me through our first-ever occurrence of ketones at 2 o'clock in the morning. Another contact insisted on sending me a book about managing kids' diabetes and wouldn't let me pay him. These were all strangers that felt camaraderie with us through our shared experience in diabetes and unquestioningly gave of their time and resources to make our lives better!

So, giving back is something that I've considered very important but haven't done nearly enough of -- yet. I've rather hoped that this blog would provide information or comfort to a parent somewhere with a child with a new diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. I hope I've been able to reach some people out there. I've tried to be a source of information for newly diagnosed friends
and neighbors.

Kaitlyn and James and our friends and family were also involved in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes recently, and we had a tremendous time feeling like we were doing SOMETHING for that community that means so much to us. Of course, the experience was hugely positive, and we walked away feeling like we'd gained more than we'd contributed!

I feel like the things I have done are very paltry and insignificant compared with the things that I've received. I suppose that gives me something to work toward, and I hope that next year at this time I'll have more to report. This community, which nobody really WANTS to join, is fantastic, and I've got a ways to go before I consider myself equal to the many amazing people that I've had the privilege of knowing because of a disease called type 1 diabetes.

 

About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.

Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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