We are constantly on the look out to find anything that serves as an encouragement for Ryan in dealing with Diabetes, specifically type 1 or insulin dependent diabetics because they can impathize with shots. I remember being in the hospital and getting phone calls from people offering their love and support. We had so many calls and emails and texts . . . so many I’m sure I have forgotten while my head was spinning with the “HOW AM I GOING TO DO THIS?” question. I found so much comfort in those who contacted us to say, “my child has type 1,” or “I have type 1 and I know what you’re feeling and we are praying.” We received countless calls from people who were sharing that family members had type 1 or friends they knew or co-workers. I felt ashamed that I didn’t realize so many were affected by this life-changing disease. There are people in my church that also live with the disease; I have so appreciated their outreach to my family. And all this communication helped my little five year old know that he was not alone, other people have the disease and they are doing just fine . . . and he was going to be just fine too!
Just a few weeks after diagnosis, I think it was my sister who said Jay Cutler, quarterback for the Chicago Bears, is a Type 1 diabetic, and she googled and read all about his diagnosis and how he deals with diabetes while playing football. This was so cool to Ryan . . . we are such a football family and Ryan’s diagnosis was in December, peak NFL season time. I believe it was a Sunday night football game near the end of the season . . . the Bears were playing the Vikings. Now, Jason is a Brett Favre fan and all the boys know that. When they came and asked who we were cheering for, I told Ryan that Cutler, a T1 quarterback was playing. He immediately responded and wanted the Bears to win. Jason and I were sure they’d lose, after all, they were playing Favre and the Vikings! I’ll never forget when the game was over how excited he got that the Type 1 Diabetic quarterback had beaten one of the best NFL quarterbacks ever, Brett Favre. I couldn’t help but think that God let the Bears win that night for Ryan.We hooted and hollered a bit but the real excitement was Ryan’s smile. Smiles were hard to come by at the beginning. But that night, he was walking 10 feet tall. How I wish I could get Cutler to write him a letter or send him a signed football card. Cutler became his hero here in the early days and I think Ryan will always remember that. For Ryan, there is encouragment and hope in someone playing football for a career. It reinforces that the disease doesn’t have stop him from doing whatever he wants to do with his life. Now, it does keep him out of the military . . . but selfishly as a mom . . . that’s a bonus (not that I wouldn’t be proud, mind you, I’m in 100% total support of our military)!!
Here’s a few more famous people we have come across who have been encouragers to Ryan. I’m going to start a notebook for him of people, famous and those we meet along the way, with type 1 and include their picture and stories. It won’t make as much of a difference now as it could when he hits his teen years, but I think he will certainly be proud of it. Here’s a short list for you to browse over . . . there is a longer list if you go to dlife.com’s website . . . here’s the link:
Ayden Byle ~ first insulin dependent athlete to run over 6500 km across North America in 1998. He ran 45 km per day!
Sean Busby ~ Champion snowboarder
Jay Cutler ~ Quarterback for the Chicago Bears
Kris Freeman ~ 2010 Olympic cross country skier
Toby Peterson ~ Dallas Stars hockey player
Nick Jonas ~ Singer, The Jonas Brothers
Victor Garber ~ actor (Ryan knows him from Titanic, he was the engineer)