DIABETES: Haillie’s bright light

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I want to thank The Press for its excellent coverage of Diabetes Awareness Month and Halo’s One Hope. I became acquainted with Haillie and Lyndsey Neufeld a few years ago. Haillie had recently been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 8 — the same age I was when I went into a diabetic coma 52 years ago. The doctor warned my parents that I probably wouldn’t live past my 20s. In 1965, there was no home blood testing, insulin pumps or awareness that it took more than one shot a day to keep blood sugars under control. From the occasional A1C lab tests that were done, it was apparent my blood sugars were dangerously high most of the time. Even so, there were a few times when I barely made it home from school and would collapse at the front door from hypoglycemia.

In my early 20s, I lost the vision in my left eye from diabetic retinopathy. That is when I began testing my blood sugar several times a day and taking multiple injections. With the encouragement of my husband, I attained good control.

A few years ago, I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, but by following a low potassium diet, good blood sugar control and exercise, I have kept my numbers stable. No one in my family thought I would live to be 40, let alone 60! I have seen so many people die from complications of this disease in their 20s and 30s, including a young man in the obituaries last weekend.

Young diabetics and their families need encouragement and support in dealing with this difficult disease. The hour to hour care can become tedious and many people just give up, hoping it won’t make that much difference. I know from experience that it does!

I am so proud of Haillie and Lyndsey for their efforts to help other families of type 1 diabetics.

LAURA AUGUSTA

Coeur d’Alene

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