Diary of An Artificial Pancreas – May 2018

Welcome to our JDRF Bay Area blog series, Diary of an Artificial Pancreas, written by 14-year-old Jamie Kurtzig. In each entry, she shares her day-to-day experiences living with the Medtronic MiniMed 670G closed-loop system, or Artificial Pancreas. Jamie, diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) at 19-months old, participated in a clinical trial for this system with Stanford University in the summer of 2016. She was able to keep the system and has been living with it ever since.

May …
Today, my classmates and I are presenting our Capstone Projects. The Capstone Project is where students complete at least 10 service hours and reflect on the time they spent serving the community. My Capstone Project was helping with the Hope Gala. It was so fun to talk to people about my Capstone Project and to show them how much good one can do-even if they are young. As part of our project, we needed to read a book relating to our Capstone Project, write poetry, make an art project, make a trifold, and make a mini-book where we reflected on our service. I read a book called Sugar Linings: Finding the Bright Side of Type 1 Diabetes by Sierra Sandison, Miss Idaho 2014 and person with T1D. Here are a few of the poems I wrote (I included the first poem in the Hope Gala program):

Hope for the Cure
Why does hope flow through my veins
Whilst we coax out the cure?
Despite the sporadic gains,
Why do we still seek that evasive detour?

Does not exploring feel so exciting and powerful-
Passionately trying our best to make coming times simpler?
Is working towards the ultimate goal
The ultimate form of pleasure?

If we do our part today,
Will the cure arrive tomorrow?
If it did, no words would I say-
I would leap and laugh, completely aglow!

I have worked so hard for over twelve years-
For modified stem cells under a microscope!
When the cure arrives, the world will cheer-
All because of a little something called hope.

The Moment It Changed
I sat there-
Completely stunned.
I always knew this day would come,
But not at this moment- when it all changed.
This is the day where I am no longer a victim-
A victim of type one diabetes.

We are strong.
We are powerful.
We are influential.
We are courageous.
We are the ones who
Helped cure type one diabetes.

Big Things
Who do I want to be?
How can I be myself?
Since the world is so big,
And I,
So small,
How can I do
Big things?

How can I fix
This world of glass,
Cracks forming every day?
Should I start small-
Where all big things start,
And pursue my passion with
All of my heart?
Since the world is so big,
And I,
So small,
How can I do
Big things?

Day by day,
Don’t we –
Small people like me-
Mend the cracks that we see?
What can we do to cure
The world and make it
Whole once more?
Should I start small-
Where all big things start,
And pursue my passion with
All of my heart?
Since the world is so big,
And I,
So small,
How can I do
Big things?

My art project is a balloon with the words “Today I Choose Hope” written on it. The string of the balloon is made up of the poem, “Listen to the MUSTN’TS” by Shel Silverstein. The poem reads: Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child, Listen to the DON’TS Listen to the SHOULDN’TS, The IMPOSSIBLES, the WONT’S, Listen to the NEVER HAVES, Then listen close to me-Anything can happen, child, ANYTHING can be”. (I am such a quote geek.) My theme for the art project is hope because the event I am planning for my Capstone Project is called the Hope Gala. Furthermore, we must all have hope to find the cure for T1D. I chose yellow as the color for the balloon because for me, yellow is a very hopeful color that shows all that we can do.Here is a picture of my trifold with my art project in the middle:

May 17: Wow! I can’t believe the Hope Gala is in 2 days! Today, I have been making name tags for the Youth Ambassadors. Since my school has a Maker Lab with a laser cutter (it is so cool!), I volunteered to make the name tags. It has been fun to design them, but it has also been hard to go into the design and change the name and other information. Here is the laser cutter making them:

May 19: Today is the day! It is going to be AMAZING! The Hope Gala is finally here! One of my favorite quotes is: “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” by Mark Twain. This quote has been bugging me for a while because I didn’t quite have a clear day where I found out why I was born. However, now I believe I have a clear day I found out why. May 19, 2018, the day I turned 14, the day of the Hope Gala was the best day of my life. I was born to inspire and to be inspired, to love and be loved. I was born to be with my friends and family. I was born to speak out for what I believe in. I was born to feel joy. I was born to celebrate life and the joys that it brings. I was born to dance in the rain. I was born to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes. It is kind of hard for me to describe how amazing it was, so I will include lots of photos and videos.

Me with my amazing friend after after she showed the super sweet and thoughtful video she made about me.
Me and my birthday-buddy friends blowing out the candles on our birthday cake-it was the best chocolate cake I have ever eaten!
Me after watching the Hope Gala video.
My parents giving the Honoree speech.
My family and I accepting the 20th annual JDRF Living and Giving Award.
My brother drawing the Grand Prize Giveaway ticket.
My sister singing “Rise Up”.
Me giving the Fund A Cure Speech
Me raising my paddle – 001 – during Fund A Cure
My friends and I during the live auction. We were amazed by how quickly the auctioneer spoke, so we started clapping!

Here was the Hope Gala by the numbers:
• We raised over $2.7 million and broke the record!
• Sponsorships raised $527,000.
• Fund-A-Cure raised over $1,984,000.
• The live auction raised $151,000. And the puppy sold for $17,000!
• The silent auction raised $35,860.
• The Grand Prize Giveaway raised $21,500.
• Ticket sales raised $61,000.
• There were 550 guests!

Here is the video the JDRF, my friends, my family, and I made to show at the Hope Gala: