Submitted by Alana Kinard
Many would be surprised to know diabetes kills more Americans each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.
Diabetes is a disorder in which the body has trouble regulating its blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels. There are two types of diabetes, however we will focus on Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. T1Dis a disorder of the body’s immune system and occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas. These cells normally produce insulin, a hormone that helps the body move the glucose contained in food into cells throughout the body, which use it for energy. When the beta cells are destroyed, no insulin can be produced, and the glucose stays in the blood instead, where it can cause serious damage to all the organ systems of the body.
People with T1D must take insulin in order to stay alive. This means undergoing multiple injections daily, or having insulin delivered though an insulin pump, and testing their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. People with diabetes must also carefully balance their food intake and their exercise to regulate their blood sugar levels, all in an attempt to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), both of which can be life threatening.
T1D is generally diagnosed in children, teenagers, or young adults. The exact cause is not yet known, but doctors believe that autoimmune, genetic, and environmental factors are involved. For some perspective; as many as three million Americans may have T1D, each year more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults – approximately 80 people per day – are diagnosed with T1D in the U.S., the prevalence of T1D in Americans under age 20 rose by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009, and T1D accounts for $14.9 billion in healthcare costs in the U.S. each year.
Makayla started a non-profit at the age of 12. The purpose of the foundation is to help children, young adults, and their families pay for essential diabetic supplies that they would otherwise not be able to afford (or affording would cause financial hardship).
The inspiration for the foundation comes from the devastating loss our family experienced in 2013; we lost my little sister, Elizabeth “Busy,” to complications due to her diabetes at the young age of 26. Busy left behind her extensive family, a fiancé, and two young children. She was always very fortunate to have supportive family, friends, and doctors, who were willing to help in any way they could to make sure she received the care and at times supplies that she needed.
My daughter Makayla, Busy’s goddaughter, told us she lost her best friend and at the time we were working on a different type of foundation. She wanted to host virtual runs and benefits to raise money to help people, but the loss made the goal more focused. The goal is to help as many people as possible in a very personal way. Makayla is our “monkey” and so was born; One Monkey’s Miracle.
Makayla’s Silver Award project tied in with her foundation. She put together care bags (60) to be delivered to the Barbara Davis Center for children who have been newly diagnosed with diabetes. Through her work on her Silver Award, she partnered with many outside organizations who provided help and supplies to add to the bags.
Currently, we are working on putting on a second virtual race that will help build our funds and hopefully help us start helping families in need.
Please consider being a part of the miracle.
More information can be found in our Facebook Group: One Monkey’s Miracle (https://www.facebook.com/groups/onemonkeysmiracle/) or online at our website: http://www.onemonkeysmiracle.wixsite.com/onemonkeysmiracle)
This story was submitted using the Share Your Stories form. You can share your Girl Scout moments, too.