We’re Cruising for a Cure, raising funds to fight Juvenile Diabetes. This disease afflicts increasing numbers of children every year, including Dale’s great-niece, Anna. We’re asking for your help to defeat it.
Donate to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) here
Learn about JDRF here
JDRF financial accountability here
Anna Silvey is the namesake of Dale’s boat, and her mother, Angie, is a critical care nurse in Kentucky. When Anna was still an infant, she began to experience extreme thirst and frequent urination. Her Mom tested her blood sugar and it was over 700 (very high). Specialists at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital confirmed Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). Type 2 Diabetes ran in the family, so the disease was not foreign to them, but the news was still devastating. Anna screamed when her finger was pricked for blood tests, and again from insulin injections. Members of the family cried in private so that Anna wouldn’t see their concerns.
Thankfully it took only six months for the insurance company and doctors to approve Anna for an insulin pump. It allowed caretakers to input the number of carbohydrates Anna consumed, and administered insulin automatically in precise, low doses. Her little body was sickly, but soon the circles below her sparkly eyes disappeared and her dimpled cheeks were pink again. The weight loss stopped, and she slowly started growing. The pump changed the life of Anna and those around her.
But when Anna began school, new concerns evolved. By law the school was compelled to provide care, but it was a struggle to get funding approved for the small, rural school to hire a nurse. And it meant getting teachers and cafeteria workers trained too. Many had never before been around a diabetic, and counting carbohydrates was foreign to them. But they learned, obstacles were overcome, and Anna completed her first year of school with flying colors.
Since then, the school has implemented numerous programs to educate the student body and staff about T1D. One of the largest fundraisers is “Walk for a Cure”, an annual event benefitting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Representatives with JDRF travel from the Louisville home office to speak to the student body about diabetes, then the students walk a mile. Anna is not embarrassed by the disease and its issues, instead she is a proud princess on that day – it is her day!
The school also implemented a buddy program, so Anna need not walk alone to the nurse’s office. There are times each day when her blood sugar must be checked, and she needs insulin after lunch, etc. So a student worker is assigned each quarter to be Anna’s “nurse”, and it is clear that each of those students is honored to do so – plus they learn a lot about T1D in the process.
As Anna grew into a vibrant young girl, her parents knew it would be important for her to do the same things as others her age, including sleepovers, but Anna has only two friends whose parents learned about T1D and how to work her insulin pump. Her blood sugar must be tested at least once during the night, so there is a responsibility.
Anna plays travel softball – her dad is one of the assistant coaches – and is a middle school cheerleader. She is the only fifth grader to make the squad of 5th through 8th grade girls this year. During basketball and cheerleading season, a caretaker must stay at school during practice and for the games each week. It is sometimes difficult to schedule, but the family perseveres for it is important that Anna’s life be as normal as possible.
Tough little finger tips, scarred and callused from thousands of finger pricks, an insulin pump attached to her little body and a glucose monitor attached too, a backpack loaded with emergency supplies and a smile that shows her beautiful dimples. These all make us realize how determined Anna is to cope with the monster that tried to control of her life. We hope that one day a cure will come, but, regardless, she is our hero.