At just seven years old, Leora Schottenstein suddenly found herself thirsty all of the time, constantly having to use the restroom, losing weight, getting headaches and continuously feeling ill. Her mom, Shana, quickly decided it was time to take her to the doctor to find out what was ailing her young daughter.
The doctor tested Leora’s blood sugar level and sent them straight to the hospital, where Leora received a type 1 diabetes (T1D) diagnosis and remained in ICU until she was stabilized. Once Leora’s blood sugar levels were under control again, her family stayed to get training on managing the disease—a disease that completely changed their family’s lives.
In almost the blink of an eye, the family went from having a happy, healthy and easy-going seven-year-old to a family that has to constantly worry about managing a potential life threatening, 24-7 disease.
Shana added, “T1D is different from a lot of other diseases in that it can’t simply be managed by taking a pill or medicine. It’s a constant struggle 24 hours a day, with no vacations.” Not a single night has gone by since her daughter’s diagnosis that Shana hasn’t woken up at 2 a.m. to test her daughter’s blood sugar.
“When you or someone you love is first diagnosed with T1D, you’re taught the old school method for treating the disease first before you can use the modern technology devices,” said Shana. Following Leora’s diagnosis, the Schottensteins were first taught how to count carbs and test blood sugar levels, in addition to when and how to administer insulin.
Since her diagnosis, Leora has become her own advocate, and is heavily involved with JDRF. Leora is always raising money for the organization, and is very focused on finding a cure. She is a proud JDRF Youth Ambassador, and loves teaching her classmates and others about T1D. She even made a book about diabetes.
Despite having T1D and everything that goes along with it, Leora continues to do the things she loves, including playing the guitar and writing her own music. She loves writing so much that she is constantly writing books. Shana said, “Leora is such a happy and creative girl.”
“Although T1D can be overwhelming at first, managing the disease eventually becomes routine, and that there is a large support group out there to help families cope,” said Shana. “The disease doesn’t limit a child’s way of life, it just creates a new way of living it,” said Shana.
Now walking for their fourth year, the Schottenstein family will help turn Type One into Type None at the JDRF One Walk in Detroit as Team dia-BUDDIES.
The JDRF One Walk has a single goal: To create a world without T1D. Join Leora and Team dia-BUDDIES at the JDRF One Walk on September 25, 2016 at Milliken State Park/Detroit River Walk. To learn more about the event or register, visit: http://bit.ly/2aYeKeu