When my youngest daughter, Faith, was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 9 months, I could never have anticipated how much our local support group would come to mean to me. From their first visit the day after diagnosis, to the ongoing friendships I’ve gained at the support group meetings, Tyler Type One has been invaluable for our family. Rarely a day goes by that I’m not connecting on Facebook with someone I’ve met there. I often say that I am not thankful for diabetes, but I am SO thankful for the wonderful people that it’s brought into our lives.
Faith is too young to really see the benefit yet, but her siblings have formed some special bonds with the other children they’ve met through Tyler Type One. It’s just about the only place we can go that no one asks them what’s wrong with their sister, or why we have a dog. It’s also good to see older diabetic children so that they can see that the future is bright for Faith.
Recently, Faith and I traveled out of town to speak at a fundraiser for a little girl with Type 1 Diabetes. They were raising funds for sweet Lily to get a diabetic alert dog like our Ruby. Faith and Lily had never met before, but just a few minutes after we arrived Lily noticed Faith’s insulin pump – and that it was pink, just like hers! Lily asked her mom why Faith had a pump, and when Angie told her that it was because Faith had diabetes like her – Lily couldn’t believe it! In the 3+ years that she’d been diabetic, she’d never met another little girl like her! She thought she was the only little girl with diabetes.
How sad is that?
Later that night Faith’s infusion set needed to be changed. Lily walked in the room, climbed up on the bed, and held Faith’s hand while I inserted a new set. It was the most precious (and heartbreaking) moment, because who knows better what Faith is going through than Lily?
Lily was diagnosed at 18 months so she, like Faith, doesn’t remember a time before diabetes. For these two sweet girls, a life of constant poking, checking, and monitoring is all they know. How sweet to have a friend that “gets it”! What a blessing that these girls have each other for support!
Type 1 Diabetes is isolating enough when you know there are others out there fighting the same fight, but to think that you’re all alone in this is too much for anyone to bear. I am so thankful that because of Tyler Type One, Faith will never know a day of thinking she’s alone in this fight. She is growing up with a strong support system all around her!
My prayer is that Type One Diabetes Foundation support groups will pop up everywhere, so that no one has to think that they are all alone in this fight!
Because, every ONE needs support!