BENEFITING: Joslin Diabetes Center
ORGANIZER: Joslin Diabetes Center
EVENT: Boston Marathon 2014
EVENT DATE: Apr 21, 2014
I feel so fortunate to be able to run for the Joslin Diabetes Center in the 2014 Boston Marathon. Diabetes has been a big part of my life ever since my younger sister, Michelle (currently age 15), was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 13 (Michelle is in my picture on the left - the taller one making me look incredibly short). I have also been working at the Joslin for a year and a half now as a research Assistant in Pediatrics. Below is my story:
Before my sister’s diagnosis, my family and I hardly knew anything about diabetes. When the doctors first told us of her diagnosis we barely knew there was a difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. We thought she developed diabetes because of her sweet tooth! The doctors explained to us that her diagnosis had nothing to do with her eating habits and although they are still unsure of what causes type 1 diabetes, there was nothing we could have done to prevent the diagnosis.
Although my family and I felt relieved knowing there was nothing we could have done to prevent her diabetes, the diagnosis was still very hard on my family. To this day, I still think about Michelle, only 13 years old at the time, sitting on her laptop at Children's Hospital in Boston quickly retreating from the nurse as she attempted to prick Michelle's finger to check her blood sugar. I also think about the Edible Arrangement fruit basket that a nice family friend sent after her diagnosis and the heartache it caused to limit the amount of fruit she could consume before we could count up all the carbs (I thought you only had to count things like cake....little did I know...)
Life went for my sister and her diabetes, but it wasn't easy, and to this day I wouldn't call it easy. There are so many tasks that an individual with type 1 diabetes has to consider EVERY SINGLE DAY that so many of us without diabetes do not. Can you imagine getting home from school or work every day when you're starving and not being able to shove the bag of chips down your throat because you need to count the carbs and then waiting 15 minutes before your insulin kicks in?
I have spent a lot of time trying to put myself in the shoes of someone with type 1 diabetes and I honestly am not sure that I could do it. I tried to count carbs for about a week on a nutrition app and failed after about 2 days because it was EXHAUSTING and that was just carb counting. I don't understand how type 1 patients can do it.
Having run one marathon independently in 2010 (Boston), I know that training for this marathon and actually running the marathon will be a challenge, but it is nothing compared to the challenges that an individual with type 1 diabetes deals with every day. I really believe that.
Ever since my sister’s diagnosis, I have wanted to help those living with diabetes. Fortunately, I was offered a job as a research assistant at the Joslin in Pediatrics right after I graduated college in 2012. I have been an employee here for a year and a half now and I love my job because I get to work with many different families and I have learned so much them as well as the staff here. As staff, we all work so hard to improve every patient’s quality of life.
Although I try to help my sister and the families I work at Joslin with as much as I can, I believe raising money for research is one of the ways I can make a significant contribution. Working at a world renowned research facility has allowed me the opportunity to be exposed to the most progressive and exciting advancements in research and technology. Although I am sure I won’t be the one who finds the cure for type 1 diabetes, I want to do everything I can to make it so someone does!