Stephanie Simmons via Crowdrise
April 17, 2012
BENEFITING: Joslin Diabetes Center
ORGANIZER: Joslin Diabetes Center
EVENT: 2012 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 16, 2012
A few things you may- or may not- know about me and why I'm so excited to be running this year's Boston Marathon with Team Joslin of the Joslin Diabetes Center:
I am running this marathon because it is the pride and joy of Boston running. I am running this marathon because my body is one step ahead of the disease that wants, but is denied, control. I am running this marathon in the loving memory of my sweet friend’s mother who recently passed away from the disease. I am running this marathon in honor of the children who do not have the technology and care available to them that I had available to me and who will be threatened by this disease. I am running this marathon for my family, to say thank you. I am running this marathon to remind myself that everyday, I can.
I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since age 9. In essence, my pancreas stopped producing insulin, the hormone the body produces and needs to allow glucose to enter the cells to produce energy. (Type 2 diabetes, which is far more common, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or doesn't make enough insulin.) Although it is uncertain how this diagnosis came about as there is no genetic link in my life, my physicians believed that a virus at the right time/place caused the body to become confused, stop producing insulin, and mistakenly destroy the insulin producing (islet) cells in the pancreas.
Since the date of my diagnosis, I have been injecting or infusing insulin multiple times a day in place of the insulin the body would otherwise create. I have been checking my blood sugar from my fingertips multiple times a day. I have thought about every food put in my mouth- the amount of carbohydrates involved, the immediate v. lasting effects, planned activity to follow, and how much insulin would be needed to cover the food.
I have three younger brothers and two wonderful parents, none of which are diabetic. When I was diagnosed, my family was diagnosed. Over the years, even with my family support, there have been multiple hospitalizations, hypoglycemic seizure events, non-responsive collapses to the floor, and 911/ambulance calls and rides. Though some things we laugh about now (perhaps when I woke up to my high school principal holding my IV bag?) we’ve all been scared from time to time.
That being said, my family has always supported the idea that diabetes was a consideration, not a limitation- a saying my mother wrote on countless permission slips and letters from concerned parents, teachers, and coaches who were worried about my participation. I learned very early on how to manage my disease independently. My parents worked hard to be able to send me to a children’s diabetes camp, Camp Glyndon, for many summers. The friends that I grew up with there remain a valuable asset and comfort in my life.
As I grew up with the disease, I ran cross-country, played basketball, and was on the track team. I played Division 3 College Basketball and Volleyball. I went abroad. I worked at the camp that changed my life and served as director for two years. I moved to Boston to go to law school. I graduated from law school, took and passed the bar. I started running regularly while studying for the bar. I became an attorney. I now work in a firm in downtown Boston where I focus on medical malpractice defense, defending hospitals and physicians when sued. I am proud to be able to support those who have supported me.
I started treating at Joslin Diabetes Center when I moved to Boston in 2005. My care immediately changed- the treatment was aggressive, comprehensive, and cutting edge ideas were on the table. I have access to the best medicine in the North East and I am thankful to be a Joslin Patient.
Since 2009, I have completed two marathons, approximately 7 half marathons, and an unknown number of smaller races. I have completed a triathlon with a team of diabetics. I wear an insulin pump which provides me insulin every thirty seconds every day but I am happy and I am healthy. Every time I put my running shoes on, I give thanks that I’m a step ahead of diabetes.
Please consider donating to my fundraising efforts in support of the ever-elusive cure that we, as a community, dream about, and until that time, in support of equal access to the benefits of wonderful care and a normal, happy, healthy life.
With love and thanks,