Walking for my Son

Walking for my Son

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill

I've blogged in the past about my son's diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes (see here and here). He was diagnosed in August of 2013, at the age of 6. Our world was turned upside-down. We'd already been facing a few challenges with him with Childhood Apraxia of Speech and some developmental disabilities. There's no way that explaining to a 6 year old that they're now diabetic and most likely will be for life can be anything other than soul-crushing. Trying to explain it to a 6 year old that doesn't fully understand... that adds an entirely new level of pain. He doesn't understand why this happened to him. He doesn't understand that it's probably not going to go away. And more than anything else, even today, two years after the initial diagnosis, he just "wants to be normal CJ again" (as he's been known to cry when changing out his pump site). But we all do our best. He does, his sisters do, as do my wife and I. Some days are better than others, but every day we keep moving forward, learning, loving, and holding out hope.

As we continue to learn, I recently became aware of the American Diabetes Association (ADA). In fact, they run a number of "Diabetes Camps" throughout the country, and my son was fortunate enough to be able to attend Camp AZDA this year. This was huge for us. The thought of him being surrounded by other kids (and grownups), all living with diabetes and contending with counting carbs and insulin injections... I just hoped that that might give him a week of feeling like "normal CJ again".

Today, 194 Arizona kids living with diabetes are embarking on the best adventure of their lives. They are on their way...

Posted by American Diabetes Association - Phoenix on Saturday, June 6, 2015
A Facebook Post by the American Diabetes Association (Phoenix)

Kicking off Camp AZDA 2015.

Camp AZDA, as it was explained to the parents, isn't a "Diabetes Camp" in that it teaches kids how to manage their diabetes. No, it's a camp. The campers and counselors all just happen to be diabetics. Every effort is made to help these kids have their week of feeling normal again. I'm incredibly grateful that something like this exists, and I hope to be able to send him every year.

And that's where I'm going to ask for some help. You see, it's not necessarily inexpensive. Is it worth it? Absolutely. It's worth well more than what it costs. But there is a cost. The camp provides all medications for a week (various types of insulins). They also provide all supplies like lancets and test strips. They've got to rent the camp grounds. They charter buses to take the kids to and from. And the ADA actually subsidizes half of the cost for each camper. While the true cost of a week of camp is $1350, each camper is only responsible for $700. And not every kid gets to go. We got lucky this year, as preferential treatment is given to first time campers. He's not guaranteed a spot. Nobody is.

This camp means the world to these kids and their families. But it comes at a cost.

On November 7, 2015, my entire family will be participating in the Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes here in Phoenix. We're trying to raise money to:

  • Help send my son to Camp AZDA next year
  • Help send other Type 1 Diabetic children to Camp AZDA next year
  • Find a cure for Type 1 Diabetes so that no child ever has to look forward to just one week a year so that they can feel normal.

I'm aware that everybody's fighting a battle. We all have bills and we all have needs and we all have wants. But if you could possibly spare at least $10 (less than a week's worth of Starbuck's), you could be making the difference in the life of a child.

You could be making the difference in the life of my child.

Donations can be made at https://donations.diabetes.org.

Please feel free to share this post (or just the link above) to your friends and family, and on various social media networks.

Thank you.

Charlie Griefer

Charlie Griefer

Just another ghost driving a meat-covered skeleton made from stardust.

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