#WhyIWalk – Charlie and the Fingerprickers


Charles had been vomiting. The doctor at my pediatrician office told me it was a stomach virus and it could last three days. I waited an additional two days and called back. I asked to see his regular doctor. I knew something was very wrong and this was not a stomach virus. While explaining to his doctor what had been going on she noticed how thirsty he was feeling. I was unaware at that time that was a symptom of diabetes. She sent us home with a script for blood work for the following morning. She said she had to rule out diabetes. I now know the signs. I also know he should have received an immediate finger prick once diabetes was a possibility. By the time he was admitted to Stony Brook his blood glucose was 1101. My lack of knowledge, doctors delay . He should have been admitted three days prior.


Fighting back tears I watched the rest of what Charles would have to endure for the Stony Brook Doctors to be able to get his Blood Glucose to a safer number. The wonderful team of Stony Brook Doctors, Nurses, Diabetes Educators and Trainers taught me how to care for Charles outside the hospital. We left the hospital with a happier healthier three year old.


I can’t tell you how many close friends and family innocently told me maybe if I had given him less apple juice.. Or didn’t understand why I was so concerned about low blood sugar when diabetes was high blood sugar. They also couldn’t understand why we couldn’t attend late dinners or parties where desserts would be served well after mealtime. Why could we not visit a house with candy in dishes displayed. Why did our entire family have to change when and what they ate.

I walk to teach people this is not our fault. I walk so that maybe people will have a better understanding of the challenges we face.

More recently, I have leaned on the knowledgeable people at JDRF. Betsy Paffmann and Daniel Phelan. Who helped my school district understand that I needed access to their Wi-Fi. (I had tried on my own in many meetings and phone conversations to get the district to understand.) They took Daniel much more serious than me.

I walk so JDRF can continue to be there for Charles and others to support, fight and accomplish what they alone cannot.

I walk because of all the talks with a teary eyed Charles trying to understand why he has to be different. Why does no one else in his class or school have diabetes? His hesitation and anxiety to go to a pool party because he wears a sensor and an insulin pump. Him thinking that if he removes his devices he is “off diabetes.”

I walk to let Charles see that he is not alone.

I walk because of the countless site changes, finger pricks, injections and keytone tests.

I walk so when my son asks me when there will be a cure I can honestly reply someday soon.

I walk because there is hope and because we need a cure!


-Maria Anne DiMaggio, Charlie and the Fingerprickers