By MARK and STACIE OSHIMA
Our 10-year old son, Evan, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D) on Feb. 13, 2014.
T1D is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin — a hormone essential to turning food into energy. It strikes both children and adults and is unrelated to diet and lifestyle. It has been 4½ years since the day that Evan got diagnosed. Not a day goes by when we wish he didn’t have this life-altering disease.
T1D affects every aspect of Evan’s life. Before every meal or snack, Evan has to measure the amount of food he is planning on eating and then calculate the amount of carbs he’s going to eat. Then, he has to dose insulin to match the amount of carbs. If carbs or insulin are miscalculated, he will experience negative repercussions: high glucose levels in his body damage his organs, nerves, and eyesight, and low glucose levels can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, or worse.
Unfortunately, lows and highs are a regular part of Evan’s life, as T1D is a difficult disease to manage, even for detail-obsessed people me. Having T1D is often like having a newborn baby. There are many nights we are woken up to the sound of Evan’s continuous glucose monitor (CGM) alarming us that Evan’s glucose is dangerously low or high. We go in, administer insulin or have him drink juice and often have to repeat this multiple times throughout the night.
While T1D is a part of Evan’s day-to-day existence, it certainly does not define who he is. He’s an avid reader (so much so, that he often completely ignores us when his head is buried in a book); an aggressive athlete (baseball is his passion, but also plays basketball and hockey inside the house, much to my chagrin); and a goofy and caring brother (although Tyler and Andrew would tell you that his goofiness probably outweighs his caring nature on most days of the week). All in all, he’s much like many other 10-year-old boys.
Evan and our family’s hope is that one day we’ll find a cure for T1D, or, at the very least, we’ll find therapies, medications and/or medical devices that will minimize the impact of the disease on the day-to-day lives of all Type 1 diabetics. That’s why Evan is actively involved in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
He has served as a JDRF youth ambassador for the past three years; in 2017 he was selected to be a part of JDRF’s Children’s Congress to lobby our country’s leaders for diabetes research funding (the Special Diabetes Program passed earlier this year!); he has also raised over $20,000 for JDRF through the JDRF One Walk over the past three years.
This year, once again, Evan is walking to help JDRF continue to fund life-changing diabetes research and create a world without T1D. With T1D, there are no days off, and there is no cure — yet. Your support can help change that.
By donating, walking with us on Nov. 4, or joining our Evan’s Evangers team for the JDRF One Walk, you can help fund research that impacts the lives of the millions of children, adults, and families challenged by T1D every day. With your support, we will help JDRF turn Type One into Type None.
Here is the link to donate or join our Evan’s Evangers team for the One Walk: https://www2.jdrf.org/site/TR/Walk/OrangeCountyChapter4049?pg=entry&fr_id=7501
And we are excited to announce that we have a very generous offer from an anonymous donor. If Evan’s Evangers raise $13,000 for the JDRF One Walk, this individual will donate an additional $5,000 to his team!
Thank you for your support, and we hope to see you on Nov. 4!
JDRF One Walk will take place on Sunday, Nov. 4, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, 2000 Gene Autry Way, Anaheim. Check-in: 8:30 a.m. Starts: 10 a.m. Length of walk: 5K.