Team Global Champion 2017 -  Sharon  


Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), unlike Type 2, is a chronic autoimmune disease with no cure. In T1D, the body’s own antibodies attack the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. Once the cells are destroyed, the pancreas stops making them. Insulin is needed to turn carbohydrates into energy so people with T1D must inject insulin daily to stay alive.  T1D was previously known as Juvenile Diabetes because it most often strikes during adolescence but can occur at any age.

Every year, Team Global picks a Team Champion.  Sharon is a
former GlobalDarby branch manager. Sharon is joining us virtually to share her story and serve as our Champion to find a cure.  Sharon will take over Global's Instagram at several times leading up to the JDRF One Walk on September 24, 2017. In addition, Sharon is sharing her story to inspire those who are living with this disease or support others who live with T1D. 

Sharon's Story:

Sharon's
diabetic story started in 1999 when she was 36 years old. JDRF stands for Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund because it most commonly strikes at a young age. But as Sharon’s story shows, this autoimmune disease can happen at any age. This is why Juvenile Diabetes is now referred to as type 1. Different than the more common type 2 Diabetes where diet and exercise can often reverse the condition, T1D is an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakes healthy beta cells as a virus and attacks them until they are gone. Beta cells make insulin, the hormone necessary to allow glucose to fuel the body. Without insulin the body will shut down and eventually die.

People living with T1D must inject insulin to stay alive. There is currently nothing you can do to prevent it and there is no cure. It is unknown what causes T1D, but the most common theory is that genetic markers matched with an antibody resulting from a common virus trigger the immune system to attack healthy beta cells. This is what Sharon believes happened to her.

 

“My daughter came down with a serious blood infection and strep throat and was hospitalized for two weeks. This was in March. In July we went on our family vacation. It was hot so naturally I drank more water, ate less and lost some weight. What woman isn’t happy when that happens?! I didn’t notice the excessive thirst and bathroom breaks because it was hot. We had an amazing vacation but about a month later I was driving home from work and I had to pull off to the side of the road because I could not see, my eyes were blurry. I was scared and confused. I called my husband and he came and got me and took me to the emergency room. The doctor misdiagnosed me with an eye infection and two days later we went back to the hospital to get a second opinion. This doctor immediately ran blood work and sure enough, my blood sugar was 650 (normal is between 70-100),” Sharon recalls.

 

“I was admitted to the hospital immediately and told I had type 1 diabetes. Oh, and did I mention I was in Italy? They were about five years behind America in diabetic research. There was not much support to help me learn how to manage this disease so I had to learn a lot myself. We now believe that when my daughter had strep throat I got it as well. My immune system developed antibodies to fight the strep virus but then these same antibodies attacked my beta cells. That was 18 years ago.  Now that I am back in America with access to the best healthcare and research, my goal is to get the best care I can to live a long and happy life.  My husband and daughter are my everything and I want to be here for a very long time. Thank you for helping people like me find a cure!”

Our
Team Global Champion joins us as a virtual walker this year to raise awareness of the effects this disease has not only on those afflicted, but on their family, friends and the entire community. We walk for a cure. We walk so that one day Type One will be Type None.

Join Sharon and Team Global by clicking here to donate or to register on our team.