Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Walk to Cure Diabetes

Dear friends and family,

Our son Charlie was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when he was 22 months old. He's 5 now. He's growing up with the disease. Having type 1 or juvenile diabetes means that Charlie will be insulin-dependent for the rest of his life. For reasons still unknown to scientists, Charlie's immune system turned against him, destroying the insulin-producing cells in his pancreas.

We take for granted how our working pancreas so amazingly regulates the flow of insulin despite how much food we stuff in our mouths. Charlie's doesn't do that. His is busted. We've had to be Charlie's surrogate pancreas for the last four years. 24 hours a day, every day. Diabetes never takes a break. That means pricking his little fingers often 15 times a day to test his blood sugar and adhering to a tightly controlled diet. He cannot always eat when he feels hungry and he must eat at times when he's not. Trying to avoid dangerously high and low blood sugars is an hourly battle. A battle we unfortunately often lose.

Charlie is no longer getting his insulin from needle injections each day. He's now connected to an insulin pump, a small but clunky device that he clips on his waistband. The pump is a nice change from the painful shots he used to get and it allows for tighter management of Charlie's blood sugar, but it's not always pleasant. Every three days we must change his infusion set – a needle connected to a tube that delivers insulin into his body. He cries as we peel off the tape and carefully pull the needle out from under the skin on his butt while he thrashes up and down like a bucking bronco. That's just part one. Next we have to take a new infusion set and insert it into him. Finding a spot that isn't bruised from prior site changes proves to be a challenge. He cries hard and begs for us to stop the whole time. It's heartbreaking. But the pump is not a cure. Nor is insulin. Insulin keeps him alive.

We don't even want to think about the long-term complications Charlie could face from years and years of wear and tear on his liver and kidneys.

It is for this reason that our team, Charlie's Angels, will again participate in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) Walk to Cure Diabetes on Sunday, October 28 at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

We don't just want a cure. We need a cure. We must have a cure. There are hundreds of thousands of children just like Charlie living with this dreadful disease and parents like us who live in a suspended state of anxiety and unrest.

So many of you have supported us in the fight against diabetes and I thank you so much for your generosity. We pray that our son will see a cure to this life-threatening disease in his lifetime.

There are two ways you can help us make a difference for Charlie and for everyone living with diabetes:

You can join our team, Charlie's Angels, which consists of family and friends who collect donations and walk with us or you can make an online tax-deductible donation.

To join our team or make an online donation, please click.

We would be grateful for any donation you choose to make. Every penny is appreciated more than you know.


Carey and Susanne Potash