Strides for Isabelle
It is an honor and privilege for our family to be named JDRF’s November Cure Champions. Reflecting back on where we were seven years ago, brings back an emotional whirlwind of memories. October, seven years ago, our lives changed forever with Isabelle’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D). Isabelle had turned 2 years old in July of 2007 and our second daughter, Lindsay, was just 7 weeks old when we learned of Isabelle’s condition. It was a terrifying time, caring for an infant, and caring for our oldest daughter who now had this life-threatening condition, still only a baby herself. Where were we to go from here?
Shortly after our world fell into a tail spin, we were reminded of the promise that we made to Isabelle while she was lying in the Pediatric Intensive Care unit…. that we will not stop fighting until there is a cure. With that in mind, we knew our best source of hope was to get involved, to stop being a victim of diabetes and to be part of the solution.
Joining JDRF, was in fact, a turning point for our family. Their mission, to progressively remove the impact of T1D from people’s lives until we achieve a world without type 1, gave us the glimmer of hope we so desperately needed. The JDRF Walk became our focus. In 2008, we formed a team, Strides for Isabelle, consisting of 40 family and friends walking in support of our little girl. It was a day that touched our lives and continues to do so, seven years later. Up until our first Walk, we had only met one person who had type 1. Walk day brought us together with families, who understood the daily struggles we were facing. Isabelle met other children testing their blood sugar, wearing pumps and counting carbohydrates, just as she did, and made us all realize that we were not alone.
From that point forward, we’ve felt an incredible sense of renewal, a family that wants to make a difference and devote ourselves to the organization that gives us hope for our daughter’s future. We’ve used our passion to its fullest potential and work hard to fundraise for JDRF. We have held a school bike-a-thon, organized bottle drives, car washes, annual lobster raffles and called upon local businesses to sponsor our team. Since 2008, Strides for Isabelle has grown from 40 members to over 100 team participants. This year, we reached an incredible milestone, raising $100,000 for JDRF, since we formed our walk team seven years ago.
We know that JDRF is moving the future of diabetes in the right direction. Thanks to their efforts, life is much different for people living with type 1 today, than it was 50 years ago. The progression towards a cure is moving at a quicker pace. In the short time since Isabelle’s diagnosis, her therapy has changed from multiple daily insulin injections, to wearing an insulin pump, and as soon as insurance allowed, she began wearing the continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a “lifesaver” as we call it. At 3 years old, Isabelle was not able to recognize the signs of a low blood sugar. The CGM gave us the tools to track her numbers to keep her safe, without pricking her fingers as often. Our most recent purchase, the bedside monitor, has given us even more peace of mind during the night. At a glance, we can see what Isabelle’s glucose levels are, without getting out of bed. It’s exciting to know that in addition to these advancements, JDRF’s pipeline of therapies include bigger and better things to include beta cell encapsulation, beta cell regeneration, smart insulin and the artificial pancreas. Although this technology can’t come fast enough, it’s encouraging to know that it’s on its way and for that, we are truly grateful!
We cannot imagine standing on the sidelines, waiting for a cure to come. We are proud to help make a difference, one small act at a time. Thank you for nominating us as November Cure Champions. We dedicate this to everyone living with T1D, because they are the true heroes who walk amongst us every day, silently coping and managing to live a normal, healthy life. We know it is NOT easy. As long as type 1 diabetes exists, we will continue to fundraise, advocate and fight for a cure because our daughter deserves nothing less. We are determined to keep our promise to her!
Submitted by: Angie and Ken Levesque