Meet the 2015 Duluth Walk Ambassador

BrittaBritta is your All-American first grader. She is smart, artistic, athletic and a good friend to others. Britta excels at math, loves to read and enjoys music.  She takes every pottery and craft class that is offered at school.  Britta does gymnastics year around and the seasonal sports of softball, soccer, and basketball.  She attends birthday parties nearly every weekend.  However there is one thing that makes her different than all the other first graders at her school…she is a type 1 diabetic.

Our family’s way of life changed three years ago when Britta was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic. She was just a week shy of her fourth birthday.  Her health was fine except for her extreme thirst and frequent urination.  We feel we caught it early as her blood glucose was at 330 and there were no other complications.  We had some textbook knowledge of diabetes but no experience of knowing anyone close to us with the disease.

Hello carb counting.  We had never read labels or dieted to even know about carbs.  Now every meal consisted of nutritional values and carb counting.  We even travel with a scale in the van for the DQ Blizzards, a measuring cup for pasta and are constantly searching on the iPhone for nutritional facts when eating out.  Sadly, eating at home has become the more convenient option.

Britta had a rough few days at first with all the shots and poking, but quickly adjusted to her new normal. She now is able to test herself and record the information on her daily log sheet.  Britta now reads labels and can navigate her pump with parental supervision.  She does an amazing job of eating balanced meals and having self-control with high sugar foods.  Britta even went to her first day camp, Camp Sweet Life, for diabetes in Mankato.  She left the camp with more confidence and knowledge of living with diabetes as well as several friends who were just like her.

Britta has two younger siblings, Brooke (4) and Bryce (2 1/2).  Neither one is diabetic, although the fear is there. When they ask for a drink during the night or complain of a headache, we squash those fears with a quick finger poke and blood sugar test.  Her siblings are very aware of diabetes.  Brooke often helps with getting the test kit and helping out during emergency lows.  Bryce likes to be a big helper by holding Britta’s hand during site changes.  Diabetes is a family affair.

Britta’s third year of doing the walk is special, as she was named the 2015 Ambassador. Originally, what made her want to do the walk, was reading about the diabetic sisters who were previous Ambassadors. We agreed that it would be good for her to meet others who have diabetes just like her.

On the way home from the walk we started brainstorming ways to raise more money for the following year. We decided to use our family business, Duluth Granite Works, to raise money by offering customers a discount on their purchase if they made a donation To Stop Diabetes.  Britta did a commercial with us for the fundraising campaign.  We were surprised and touched by the stories customers brought and the money we raised.  We hope for another successful year for Britta and everyone else affected by diabetes.

We invite you to walk with us at the Miller Hill Mall on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for the Step Out: Walk to STOP Diabetes! With your help we can reach the Walk’s goal of $66,000! Create your own team or walk as an individual by registering online at www.diabetes.org/duluthstepout or contact Jackie Reding at the ADA office at jreding@diabetes.org or 763-593-5333 ext. 6598.

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