Bradley was diagnosed over 10 years ago with T1D at the age of four and a half. My family and I were in shock because we had only heard of diabetes but had no idea what living with the disease would be like. My family and I took the news of Brad’s diagnosis very hard. Brad did not understand at first, but it did not take him long to notice he was being treated differently. Although he was a normal kid in the eyes of most people, he seemed like a fragile piece of glass to us. My family always tried to make him feel comfortable and show him support because he always asked us what he did to deserve this disease. That was extremely heartbreaking to hear, especially coming from my little brother who was not even five yet. Nothing my family could have done would have prevented Brad from living with T1D.
When Brad was diagnosed, I was 16 years old and felt confused as to what I could do to help. I had high school to deal with, which for a teenage girl was very important, but I was sure I made time to learn about T1D. I am very protective of my little brother and wanted to be ready to explain to people what it was like for Brad to live with T1D and educated them about the disease.
Over the past 10 years, I have spoken with a lot of people about T1D and have educated them on the disease. I have come to realize that there is a general confusion between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. There have been times where I have had to tell people my brother can eat whatever he wants in moderation and YES he can have ice cream and it does not have to be sugar free.
Now that I am older and I understand T1D better, I decided it was time to be proactive and get my entire family involved with JDRF. At this year’s Gala, my mom and I volunteered to sell raffle tickets at the event to try to raise as much money as we could, knowing that over 80% of that money would go to research. For my mom and I, it was very motivating and inspiring to see so many people come together to raise money to find a cure. My husband and I also ran in the Coloma River Run, and my brother ran with us and finished 6th overall in the 5k. Unlike some of the other JDRF events, there were many people who attended who had no connection to T1D. They simply love to run. I was thankful for the many participants in the race and hope they learned something about JDRF and T1D.
I always believe it is the little things that count. Whether it is volunteering at an event or raising money for a run or walk, we are all helping to bring awareness to T1D and JDRF. I am thankful to get to spend time with my brother and show him that his entire family supports him and wants to find a cure.
We all want a cure for T1D, but until then I will keep volunteering and help educate people until a cure is found.
Dedicated JDRF Volunteer