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Hayley's Fight against T1 Diabetes

Ryan Johnson

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For those who do not know, my 11 year old Hayley has been fighting T1 diabetes for over 7 years now. Every year we are a part of the JDRF Walk for a Cure in Houston and we're back in 2012. My Christmas family has been so supportive and generous over the years and I can't tell you how much it has meant to me and my family. Below is our "Friends and Family Letter" that we kick off the walk season with. If you read it and are so inclined, please consider donating to the walk (you can do that at www.hayleysfight.com). Every dollar helps!

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s that time again! We’re back and raising funds and awareness for the 2012 JDRF Walk for a Cure. All these years later, JDRF is still an organization we believe in because they are working around the clock and have continued to develop new and more efficient ways to treat diabetes. We believe with the level of dedication that JDRF has shown that this is the organization that will find a cure. Yet, JDRF and Hayley’s Fight cannot do it alone: we need your help!

For eight years we have been reaching out to friends and family to help us help JDRF fight for and cure Hayley and the millions like her. We honestly hoped that by the time an eighth walk year would have come around that we wouldn’t have a reason to walk at all. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Hayley still has diabetes. We still need your help.

Hayley was diagnosed on April 29, 2005 just 33 days after her fourth birthday. It was a life changing diagnosis. We were required to hurt our child to keep her alive. She didn’t understand. Our hearts were broken. People told us then that we would get used to it, that having a child with Type 1 would become our normal. And it has. Who knew that something that hurts so much could become normal?

Worrying about Hayley when she is at a friend’s house, when she’s riding her bike, when she’s at school, when she is asleep—it’s as natural as breathing. We don’t just worry that she’ll be safe and have a good time—we worry that she’ll have a low blood sugar causing her to be different from her friends, we worry that she’ll have a seizure, or worse, that she won’t come home alive at all. The pit in our stomachs that begins from the time she leaves our company until she comes home only gets worse as she gets older and more independent.

She’s no longer that little girl with the chubby cheeks and big brown eyes that you would see in our letters and videos in previous years that would illicit people to take action because she was cute and it was hard to imagine a little girl experiencing such pain. She is growing into a beautiful young woman. Yet, her need is as urgent as ever. She wants to go away for long weekends with friends without having a two page directive for adults to get her home alive, she wants to run and play and eat what she wants, when she wants, without stopping to test her sugar. She wants to body surf in the Gulf of Mexico without worrying that she’ll go low and be taken away by a wave. She wants to be the carefree girl that was taken away from us on April 29, 2005.

What does diabetes mean to an 11 year old girl? It means five shots a day. It means making herself bleed with a lancing device at least six times a day, it means missing class to take her sugar and give herself insulin injections. It means stopping before every meal, every ice cream sundae, and every snack to stick a needle in her skin so that she can STAY ALIVE. It means having fingers that are so tired and used that she cannot always draw blood from them because she has poked them about 30,000 times. Diabetes means rotating injection sites so if she wants to wear a pretty prom dress or bikini any time in the future that she won’t be too scarred to do so. It means having taken 8,000 shots to stay alive. It means tears because she doesn’t want to be different. Things other kids take for granted. Things she shouldn’t have to think about.

The bottom line is that glucose meters, insulin, and even insulin pumps are not a cure. They are LIFE SUPPORT and even with the best care she could suffer blindness, heart disease and failure, neuropathy, kidney failure, and even premature death. But together we can give her hope for a better. Together we can show her that she doesn’t have to settle for this life.

We continue to support JDRF because we believe that their around the clock research into a cure for Type 1 diabetes is our greatest hope of giving our girl the life that she was supposed to have. We humbly ask that you help us support JDRF yet again this year. Every dollar helps.

We have participated in seven walks in Hayley’s seven years of having diabetes. We have raised about $20,000 in that time. We are so grateful for every single penny that you have donated in her name. We have NO doubt that it is with your generous donations and support that we are so much closer to a cure than we were when we started this long and heart wrenching journey. Thank you in advanced for your continued generosity, love and support.

To donate even a dollar to JDRF in Hayley’s name please visit:

To learn more about Hayley and what Hayley’s Fight is all about visit: www.hayleysfight.com

Please consider sharing Hayley’s story with your friends and family to spread awareness.

With love and hope,

Hayley, Kierstin, Riley, Ryan and Rachel

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