Dear Newly Diagnosed Families: Welcome from the Seitles

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Dear Newly Diagnosed Families,

When our 5-year-old son Casey was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) on March 1, 2021, our world changed forever.  He was in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). A friend with type 1 had spotted the symptoms and tested his blood glucose. This was our introduction to the world of T1D.

After returning home, we soon realized not only how many members this world has, but how special it is. Community members living with T1D came forward in support. One T1D parent helped us attach Casey’s first continuous glucose monitor, while his school nurse, who has years of experience managing her own son’s T1D, eased us into getting back to our new normal. She also introduced us to the larger T1D community when she suggested that Casey lead a virtual fundraising walk at our READ Preschool for JDRF.

Casey proudly led dozens of preschoolers in our first JDRF One Walk that October under the team name “Casey’s Clan”. We raised $1,275! I was soon contacted by two JDRF representatives, who have become friends. Casey’s walk and our efforts even earned us JDRF’s Rookie of the Year Award! That recognition for helping others helped Casey through that challenging time.

Soon, news of Casey’s diagnosis spread, and local Hammonton businesses, community organizations, and residents began joining us to support JDRF and our local T1D community. Joining forces with our local Lions Club, we hosted a family Easter event. Dozens of local businesses contributed gift baskets, donations, and artwork. An army of volunteers provided music, activities, face painting, and more. I burst into tears when I saw an unending line of cars stream in. This joyous event raised $7,300 for JDRF. Our delight continued when Casey’s jiu jitsu coaches followed up with a JDRF fundraiser of their own, raising another $820.

In April, JDRF gave us the honor of being the face of the 2022 South Jersey One Walk. Casey helped make our video for the walk, and when he watched it for the first time, I watched him.  He smiled. His eyes lit up. JDRF is helping show Casey that he is not alone, while also showing he can help others like him. JDRF’s invitation made him—and us—feel special. And this year, I can’t wait to be walking with thousands of others devoted to finding a cure for T1D.

JDRF is leading that effort, as well as helping T1D families already living with it. DKA is a phrase no parent wants to hear. Thanks to JDRF-funded research, there’s an antibody test that can quantify a person’s risk of developing T1D (called the T1D Detect Program). Drugs like Teplizumab (under FDA review) could delay onset for up to three years, while research and clinical trials happening in cell therapy could deliver life-changing therapies that place healthy, insulin-producing beta cells back into the bodies of people with T1D.

Come join us this fall at One Walk. For those of you experiencing diabetes distress, I have found that advocating for others helps. Everyone who comes will feel part of the huge JDRF family and wonderful JDRF Greater Delaware Valley T1D community. One day, together, we can turn type 1 into type none.

Always in your corner,

Lisa and Sam Seitles