Seventeen-year-old Micah’s greatest supporter is his family—and when you hear his story you’ll understand why. A Delegate for the JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress taking place in Washington, D.C., Micah says, “Everyone with type 1 diabetes can say it’s changed their lives but few can match [the effect] it has had on me…it’s changed every aspect of my life and because of that I wanted to get involved more.”
Micah was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when he was just 18 months old. He was born in Texas to teenage parents who were ill-prepared to take care of a child with diabetes. At the age of five, the state placed Micah in foster care. In the next three years, Micah lived with six different foster families, some of whom did their best to attend to his needs, while others didn’t make taking care of Micah—or his diabetes—a priority.
Going above and beyond…
Everything changed for Micah when he attended Camp Sweeney for children with diabetes. Not only was Micah surrounded by kids like him, but he got a break from living in the foster system as well. For two years at Camp Sweeney, Micah’s favorite counselor was a college student Austin Kane. They formed a strong bond, so much so that Austin told his parents, Chris and Sue, Micah’s story and said that if he were older, he would adopt him. Micah says, “I never expected it, but diabetes led me to my real family—or forever family as people say in foster care.”
At the time, in June 2007, Chris and Susan Kane were empty-nesters. When Austin explained how great Micah was, Chris jokingly says they thought, “Well that’s kind of a wild idea. We even asked our daughter Courtney [a counselor at Camp Sweeney at the time] to check out Micah to make sure we had a second opinion.” In reality, Chris and Sue thought long and hard about the decision before reaching out to Micah’s case worker to set up a meeting. The rest is history.
Chris says making a visit to Micah’s then foster home really cemented the Kanes’ decision to adopt him. There, Micah showed them his “life book.” Chris says, “It brought tears to my eyes when he casually just…said these are my birth parents. They couldn’t take care of me and I ended up in foster care. It just breaks your heart.”
Beginning a new chapter…
Of learning that the Kanes wanted to adopt him, Micah says, “It was really neat because at camp we called our counselors big brothers and then six months later [Austin] became my real brother.” Although Micah was young and didn’t necessarily grasp the full gravity of what was happening, he says, “I knew I really loved these parents, these people who wanted to take care of me. I knew they were different because of that love that they showed me.”
Micah’s entire world was transformed once he was adopted. He started playing sports, attending a good elementary school and making friends. And Micah finally had the stability and order that he had lacked for the majority of his young life. He says becoming a part of the Kane family is “just one of those things that you really can’t take for granted.”
Becoming a JDRF Advocate…
Micah looks forward to being a counselor-in-training this year at Camp Kudzu—a diabetes camp in Georgia. He describes T1D as “a silent disease because when people look at you they don’t know that you have it.” That’s why he wants to raise awareness so that others have a better understanding of what it’s actually like. Micah is an avid lacrosse player and says, “I want to be an inspiration for people [with T1D] who want to play physical sports—I want to show them that’s possible.” Micah is also really looking forward to taking part in JDRF 2017 Children’s Congress this July. “I think bringing awareness of T1D will help so much because once we do, people are going to be more invested in finding a cure.”
Click here to learn how you can become a JDRF Advocate.