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A New Community: Finding Hope and Kindness During aType 1 Diabetes Diagnosis

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And so the adventure continues…when Kennedy was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, our world turned upside down. We were scared, overwhelmed, and uncertain of what the future would hold. Every day was a new challenge, with carb counting, insulin shots, and blood sugar checks becoming our new normal.

The first few days of being home were odd. There was so much support in the hospital that when we settled in at home it felt very isolating. I can say it was almost like the feeling of having a newborn baby for the first time and after leaving the hospital and getting the newborn home you sort of look around like “now what?”

We could see that Kennedy was still not feeling great and was just exhausted from everything that occurred during the diagnosis. We were told every day in the hospital would take three days recovery at home. I can say this is pretty accurate, we were there three days, and it took about ten for her to get back to “normal.” She had her first outing to grab some Chick-fil-a for lunch one day. This was a huge first for her, the first time eating out of our home was intimidating but she couldn’t pass up some good CFA! She rocked it and her numbers stayed in normal range.

The Hidden Blessings in the Midst of Overwhelming Costs: Our Journey Affording Medical Needs for Type 1 Diabetes Treatment

We are a homeschool family, so we decided to put school on hold for a couple of weeks (love the beauty of homeschool scheduling). During this time, we dug in to finding coupons and savings for all her new medical needs as the cost for type one diabetes is insanely high. We would need insulin (two kinds) since she would be taking multiple daily injections, insulin pen needles, glucagon (lifesaving if she were to go unconscious due to an extreme low blood sugar), a glucose meter, test strips, a lancet device and lancets. All these costs with a high deductible commercial insurance can be quite overwhelming. As we looked no further than into our faith, we witnessed small miracles happen for our family.

We were blessed with grandparents helping pay for some initial cost, a lady in line with my husband at the pharmacy who overheard the cost of these supplies and offered him a $50 bill, we experienced a close family friend who wasn’t able to turn in some of their church tithe money one week and felt it needed to go to Kennedy instead, and we had a family member send “grocery money.” The countless acts of charity were so very humbling during these first couple of weeks. Not just monetarily but through acts of kindness and selflessness. Although all these wonderful things made our family feel loved and looked after we just felt so alone in our new normal. As I revisited all the paperwork, we were given by the hospital I came across information about Camp Seale Harris.

Finding Belonging and Support at Camp Seale Harris: Our Journey to Attending Family Camp

In the hospital our social worker mentioned Camp Seale Harris – the first diabetes camp in the south. Founded by Dr. Samuel Eichold in 1949, SDES operates Camp Seale Harris with the mission to teach kids with Type 1 Diabetes how to live well. They offer day camps, overnight camps, family camps, family fun days, and much more.

With the hope of finding diabetic friends for Kennedy, who would understand exactly what she was going through, we decided to sign up for the next family day event offered. We headed south for a day trip to Mobile, just 18 days (about 2 and a half weeks) after Kennedy’s diagnosis, to attend the CSH event.

The warm welcome we received from Maria, an employee of Camp Seale Harris, made all the difference. Finally, we felt like we belonged to a community that understood and “got it.” Everyone we met was so welcoming, supportive, and knowledgeable.

Kennedy had a blast at the event, for the very first time since her diagnosis, she forgot about her diabetes for a few hours. It was then that she expressed her desire to hang out with diabetic friends who could relate to what she was going through, even outside of the annual Camp Seale Harris programs.

We learned of the upcoming awareness walks for CSH, these are walks that raise funds for diabetic kids to attend camp. We signed Kennedy up for our local event that would take place in a couple of months. We began to raise funds. Our goal was to raise enough for our family to attend family camp in the fall. We were once again overwhelmed by the support our friends and family outpoured. Kennedy was able to raise all her funds for family camp and we cannot wait to attend in the fall.

One Month In: Navigating the Challenges of Type 1 Diabetes with Kennedy

During this time Kennedy hit the one-month mark of having type one diabetes. This meant she had one hundred and fifty insulin injections, numerous blood glucose checks and her first scary low during the night.

Camp Seale Harris: A Beacon of Hope and Inspiration for the Diabetic Community

We are grateful for Camp Seale Harris for leading the way and all that they do for our community – they are one of the reasons Kennedy knew she wanted to create something for Dia-Besties. Thus, “Dia-Bestie Adventures” wheels began to turn. Kennedy wanted to create something for diabetic friends, we just didn’t know what that would look like yet.

CSH played a pivotal role in helping us find a sense of belonging and inspiring us to create something that would help others experiencing the same journey as we are. Our experience with Camp Seale Harris has proven that a strong community and support system is essential for those living with Type 1 Diabetes. We knew we were no longer alone on this journey and were excited to connect with other families and create new memories with our Dia-Besties.

As we continue this journey ofT1D, we hope that Dia-Bestie Adventures will grow and thrive, providing a safe and supportive space for families and kids living with Type 1 Diabetes.

Jen

Jen

Kennedy's Mom!

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