Evelyn was diagnosed T1D at 18 months old. We were new parents and had no idea what to expect. We immediately took to social media to meet others who had gone through our similar situation or we’re going through it the same as we were. Once we inserted ourselves into the “Diabetes Online Community”, we started walking in step with the Washington DC Metro Area ADA Office. Before we knew it, Evelyn was asked to be the 2011 Youth Ambassador in May; she made a few speeches at luncheons and even cut the ribbon at the Walk to Stop Diabetes in October that year. They also wanted to know if it was ok if they sent a photographer to our house later that month for some pics. We eagerly agreed. Once her “reign” had ended in December 2011, they asked her, “that was a pretty exciting year, how do you plan to top it?” She looked over her shoulder and said-just you wait and see!”, having no idea what that meant yet.
The pictures taken in our home were an awesome experience, and imagine our surprise when they arrive on the cover of Diabetes Forecast Magazine (with more pictures inside!). We knew then, what we should do. We need to talk with people and let them know that diabetes might be relentless, but there is nothing out of reach. With or without diabetes, you can do anything that your heart desires. A lot of people have. There are people with type 1 diabetes that are rock stars, professional athletes, aspiring professional athletes, tv show finalists/singers/performers, race car drivers, reality tv show winners/Doctors, actors, actresses, Moms, Dads, sisters, and brothers. So we set out to meet as many other people that have been on the cover of Diabetes Forecast, learn their story and tell them ours. We have met 10 people as of right now, and we have contacted 4 or 5 more to meet with soon. You may know a few of them; Bret Michaels, Crystal Bowersox, Sam Fuld, Miguel Paludo, Elizabeth Profit, Dr. Nat Strand, Elliott Yamin, Brandon Morrow, Erin Spineto, Ryan Reed and Nick Jonas (9/29/2015). Each meeting has a story, each person tells their experience with type 1 diabetes-yet their stories all ring true with everything we have experienced so far. Their successes are our successes. Our highs and lows are their highs and lows. We are all one, big T1D Family.
What is the weirdest question you’ve been asked about your diabetes, and how did you respond?
“You’re not supposed to eat that, are you?”
She said-“I can eat anything that you can; I just have to take insulin to cover the carbs!”
How do you inspire others?
I think she inspires others by showing them that nothing will stop her-she’s accomplished everything that she has ever set out to do. Anything that she has ever tried to do-roller skate, walk on stilts, pogo stick, her grades, math club, and being invited to join her schools National Junior Honor Society. She stays very positive in her send care, even if she has to be reminded to check her blood glucose level every once in awhile. She is always aware of her pump insulin levels, and quantity of her supplies. She never has forgotten to account for her intake and has always calculated her own ratios correctly. We are very proud of her for everything that she has done and continues to do.
Tell us a story about how diabetes has affected you.
This question doesn’t really apply to Evelyn, in that she was diagnosed at such a young age-she doesn’t know any different. As parents, we barely can tell you what it is like to be a parent before diabetes-we barely had 18 months for the dust to settle before we had to learn a whole new playbook! Although-it sort of fit right in with what was happening at the time in her little life, as she was just starting to eat solid foods; moving away from baby foods to regular foods. While we aren’t as strict as we could be in the area of diet-we agreed long ago that we would not ELIMINATE carbohydrates from her diet (or from the family diet). We choose to hit diabetes head on and not avoid it with an ultra-low carb and sugar-free diet. We feel like that’s avoidance and not a realistic way to deal with diabetes in the real world.
Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or 100 regular sized ducks?
She said she would rather fight 100 regular sized ducks. She said her weapon of choice would be a tennis racket! (Brutal!)