On September 21st, 2013, Matty was diagnosed with diabetes (a life-threatening autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin) or as he likes to say, his “pancreas retired”. It strikes both children and adults suddenly and changes life as they know it forever. It cannot be prevented and there is NO cure. Matty had just finished his 5th day of kindergarten. It was the scariest day I can remember. Matty had not been acting like himself for days and I hoped my hunch was wrong…but it wasn’t. A urine test confirmed the diagnosis and we were immediately sent to Westchester Medical Center. During his week long stay, we learned how to care for him while the doctors got his blood sugar under control. 7-10 blood sugar checks a day (before any meals/snacks, before/after exercise, during the night), painful pump site changes every three days, Dexcom changes every seven days, an absurd amount of needles, constant measuring and carb counting…always trying to keep his number from going too low or too high…it never stops. It’s frustrating, exhausting, scary and no matter how much monitoring and calculating you do, it’s still hard to get the result you were hoping for because so many things affect it: eating, exercising, stress, growing, illness.
Matty has now had this awful disease for 5 years…he has now lived half his life with diabetes.
-5 years of living with diabetes means 14,600 pricks of his fingers for blood sugar checks
-5 years of living with diabetes means 260 Dexcom needles
-5 years of living with diabetes means 608 insulin pump needles
-5 years of living with diabetes means about 1,000 chocolate milk or juice boxes to help raise a low blood sugar
-5 years of living with diabetes means calculating carbs and insulin doses for 9,125 meals
-5 years of living with diabetes means 1,825 sleepless nights (for me)
Matty is proud to say he has type 1 diabetes and loves teaching others about it-especially kids who have been recently diagnosed. So much so that he wants to be a “diabetes doctor” when he grows up and help others. He even wrote his own book describing how he was diagnosed and what life with diabetes is like. We hate that he has this awful disease but are so proud of how well he handles it-even on the really hard days-like when he has to wait to play in his baseball game or participate in gym class because his blood sugar is too low or wait to have cake at a birthday party because his blood sugar is too high. When he is too low to walk and has to be carried or when he feels so awful that he can’t think straight from his blood sugar being too high. When he goes low during the night and has to be woken up to drink a chocolate milk, or woken up during the night to get a shot of insulin and have his site changed because his blood sugar is too high. He tries very hard to be tough (which is why we are the Type 1 Toughs) but still has his days where he says “I hate having diabetes”.
We will be walking for our 5th year on Oct. 21st and hope you will continue to support our team by either donating or walking with us or both. Walk day and “t-shirt day” (Oct. 19th this year) are Matty’s favorite days of the year because he loves feeling so supported by his friends and family. “It shows me how many people are helping to find a cure, even people who don’t have diabetes”. With your help, funding to help quality of life for people managing diabetes will improve and a cure WILL be found. Not hopefully, but definitely. Every dollar donated will go to this very worthy cause, and will help Matty, a very worthy “tough” say “Remember when I used to have diabetes?”.
Thank you for your continued support!
T-shirt day will be Friday Oct. 19th: Matty’s favorite day of the year is walk day…but his 2nd favorite day is “t-shirt day”, where his friends, classmates, teachers, bus driver, family members, etc. all wear our team shirt. When asked why this is his 2nd favorite day of the year, Matty said “I love to see that so many people support me and JDRF because that means we are closer to a cure!”
If you would like to participate and order a shirt, please Venmo $10 and your shirt size to Luci-Zimmerman. $3 from every shirt sale goes to our team! Last year, we sold over 100 shirts and raised an additional $300 for our team just in t-shirt sales! We have both children’s and adult sizes. We want to make it bigger than ever this year since it’s Matty’s last year at Ridge Street!