Hello! My name is Maria Martin, and I am 33 years old. I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was 17 years old. At diagnosis, the doctor gave me six months to live. He explained the reason I had lost so much weight was because I had Type 1 diabetes. My pancreas was not making insulin, which helps your body turn what you eat into fuel, and your body must have carbs /food/ fuel to live. My body had turned on itself after eating all my fat and it was starting to eat ME! My vision had gone, I was starving all the time (even though I ate non-stop), and I was nothing but bones. My parents took me to the doctor because I had sores on my leg that would not get better. This is when they diagnosed me with Type 1 diabetes and told me there was no cure. The doctor told me I had to have a shot of insulin in my stomach everytime I ate, check my blood sugar six-seven times a day, as well as prepare myself for lows that could happen at any time. I was devastated and felt very alone. I learned that I had to take care of myself to live this life successfully, but I also grew up hiding my disease because people just didn’t understand. “Can you eat that ?” “Are you going to die? My grandpa lost his leg and died.” “Try cinnamon – it will cure you.” People mean well, but it’s pretty constant as far as no one understanding your life with Type 1.
This year, all of that changed for me when my nine-year-old son Brink was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. My number one goal since that day has been that he NEVER, EVER, EVER feel alone. We were in this together, but I wanted him to have friends who were just like him and never have that feeling of being ashamed or hiding to give his shots and check his blood sugar. That was when I learned about a wonderful place – a place where there were other Type 1 kids just like him, and they welcomed Type 1 families. This place was Camp Seale Harris, and it has changed our life for the better in so many ways. To see my son come out of his shell, sitting down to eat with other kids just like him, all of them checking their blood sugar and dosing for food that was all carb counted just for them was wonderful. To talk to counselors who ALL have Type 1 just like my child was an incredible feeling, and one I had longed for over half my life. Meeting other parents who have become friends for life was amazing. We had the best time at family camp – rope courses, bouncy houses, archery, paddle boats, lessons for kids and parents about Type 1 diabetes, and questions answered by our doctors! The best part was after months of being the only people who knew how to take care of our son, we were around people who knew exactly what to do. We didn’t have to explain anything to anyone.
Brink went back to camp this summer, and he made some great friends that we have stayed in touch with and formed a support group so that our kids have friends just like them. This camp has given my son acceptance, and that is priceless! Please consider helping support Camp Seale Harris! The money you donate goes directly to help our kids go to camp. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
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