Last Saturday Aaliyah’s Army took part in the JDFR Walk in San Antonio to end Type 1 Diabetes.
The goal of JDRF and the walk is to turn “Type One into Type None.” The day was magnificent and amazing. It was filled with families and organizations united to raise funds to help find breakthroughs and a possible cure to this complicated autoimmune disease.
Aaliyah is my great niece, the daughter of Katherine Wilkerson and granddaughter of Sherry and David Wilkerson. To say she is the heart and soul of our family would be an understatement. She is our youngest member and even before her diagnosis on August 29, 2018, she was the apple of our eye and the center of our universe.
In July 2018, a mere month before she was diagnosed, we were at our annual family beach week in Port Aransas. She could not have been more the picture of perfect health. Playing non-stop with her best friend Olivia at the beach house’s pool and in the ocean. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning. Entertaining us with dance concerts and virtually being in motion, laughter and ‘tween shenanigans from dawn until dusk. I took Aaliyah and Olivia on an auntie shopping trip to the IGA and Wintons, the worldfamous candy store in Port A. I gave them each $20 to spend just on candy. What are aunts for I thought? One month later, Aaliyah entered the emergency room after having dropped so much weight so fast that she looked like she had been in a concentration camp. It was there that we learned she had Type 1 Diabetes and that she was near death. Unfortunately, that story is all too common. My first thought was what a terrible aunt I was to have taken her to that candy shop. Misconception number one about Type 1 Diabetes. It is not caused by diet. The minute a child is diagnosed with T1D, not only does their life change forever, but their family’s does, as well. It is a daily fight for life. For one, the mother will never get a good night sleep ever again and that is just a small beginning.
The Pleasanton Express has followed the lives of four local fantastics who not only survive but thrive while having T1D. Their names are Hunter Norment, Libby Kemp, Max Wiggins and Alex Guerra. You can do a quick search in our archives at www.pleasantonexpress.com with their names to read their stories. We will be running an update on each of these young warriors in our Thanksgiving issue to find out where they are now in their journey with T1D.
What is Type 1 Diabetes? It is a chronic autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the insulinproducing beta cells of the pancreas. This attack leaves the pancreas with little or no ability to produce insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar.
People with T1D must inject or pump insulin into their bodies every day to carefully regulate blood sugar and stay alive.
T1D means insulin dependency for life. It can be diagnosed at any age. The devastating threat from complications demands meticulous planning to avoid life-threating situations.
T1D is not a lifestyle disease or something you can outgrow. It is not caused by diet or sugar nor is it preventable and as of yet not curable. But, that is the goal. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. The Pleasanton Express hopes to help raise awareness of this disease and the need for funds to find a cure.
NOEL WILKERSON HOLMES is the Publisher/Managing Editor of the Pleasanton Express. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.