Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Walk to Remember

Yesterday I took a very special walk in honor of one of my Kinders, Sydney.  I joined her wonderful family and my coworkers for a morning dedicated to finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes, sponsored by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).  I was so humbled and moved by the children, young adults, families, and health care providers who rallied together as a community for this event, which raised $42,000!

I knew right away that Sydney was pretty special when I met her last August.  She was diagnosed with Type 1 at 19 months of age, and since then has also been diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. She is so strong and so brave.  Her Mom, Amy, explained to me that kids with Type 1 (plus celiacs) have to grow up pretty fast in order to manage their conditions, which never take a recess, not even when they sleep. 

When I met her I didn't know anything about either disease, much less taking care of a student who has both.  I have to admit....I was a little scared. Thankfully, Sydney and her Mom have been very patient with me throughout this school year.  They taught me not only how to check Syd's glucose level, but how to work her Bolus wizard, how to calculate carbs, read the tellltale signs for lows and highs and what to do to correct them.  I also learned how to make gluten free brownies and cake, where to buy gluten free pasta for classroom projects, and how to make sure that Sydney's environment stays as uncontaminated as possible.

But being Sydney's teacher has taught me so much more.  Diabetes and Celiacs do not define Sydney.  Everyday she triumphs over her obstacles with strength and humor.  Instead of Sydney focusing on her own needs, she often seeks out others who need a little boost to help them to feel better about themselves.  She helped me to create a classroom atmosphere this year that embraced compassion, empathy, and care above all else.

I will always be thankful to Sydney for blessing me and my classroom this year. 

So the least I could do on a Saturday morning in April was to take a little walk for Sydney and pledge to do what I can to advocate for her and other students who come my way with Type 1. 

It was truly a walk to remember.

Sydney showing off her prize basket for having the largest team in the walk.

Members of our Kinder Cub teaching team with Sydney

Sydney and her wonderful Mom, Amy

"When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless.
But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment
that comes from knowing you are working to make things better"

*For more information about Type 1 Diabetes and what you can do to help, check out this link to the website for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF):  http://www.jdrf.org/

1 comment:

gail said...

What a wonderful tribute to a great kid and an important cause. It reminds me that the kids in our class have complicated lives and that we sometimes only see the surface. Sydney is fortunate to have such a caring teacher who recognizes the whole child and her family.