The Village Leader

Moms are the best. They do anything for their kids. But when the child has a chronic disease, “anything” takes on a whole new meaning. I’d like to say that I knew all my mother did for me growing up, especially as one of the only type 1 children in our community. I can say now, I had no idea how much she’s been my greatest support until my daughter Ellie was diagnosed at the age of four.

Her support started the moment I called from Ellie’s doctor appointment, as I sank to the floor in the hallway and couldn’t get the words out. She knew. She asked which hospital and said they’d be there as soon as they could. They pulled in 90 minutes after my call, with a 60-minute drive. After Ellie was settled, her IV insulin drip going and her blood-glucose levels coming down, mom kicked me and my husband out of the hospital to get dinner. She said “Leave, I’ve got this,” and I knew she and my dad did.

It takes a village to raise a child, and that village can seem small when a child has type 1 diabetes. Our family is so lucky and grateful to have a very large village helping us raise Ellie and her younger sister Anna. But I know there is one person in my life who understands the demands and issues of raising a child with type 1. She’s the sounding board. She reminds me of my issues growing up with type 1.

greatestsupport_2She took on learning everything she could about Ellie’s insulin pump and was able to step in to watch our girls overnight not long after Ellie was diagnosed. I grew up with “servings” and a 1200-calorie diet, and Mom made it seem like nothing for her when she read and learned about counting carbs and carb ratios, correction factors, and all the technical details that come with type 1. She pushed us to teach others how to care for Ellie and was the person we called when we needed the “night away.” That turned into watching our girls for five nights when we went to our first JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes in 2006 in Death Valley, CA. No cell phone service, minimal phone service. She allowed me and my husband Steve to travel without a need for worry about our girls. That gift was invaluable.

She has also given back to families all over the world with her knowledge through JDRF’s Online Diabetes Support Team. She is the go-to “cyber volunteer” on all aspects of living with type 1 for people who’ve filled out the online form at Helping families cope with a new diagnosis or offering information and advice about their questions, she is one of the top responders in the team of 100 volunteers.

Moms go above and beyond for their kids all the time. I’ve been lucky that my greatest supporter has been there for so long. I know people get through life with type 1, but I’m so lucky to have my mom help us get through ours. She has been and continues to be #MyGreatestSupporter. I understand now, more than ever, how much she’s done for me and my family.

–Katie Clark

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2 thoughts on “The Village Leader

  1. Profile photo of sue44sue44

    My mother is my greatest supporter at 53 years old! When I was diagnosed at 17 I remember the nurse coming in telling my mother ” do you want to give her the insulun shot.” My mom being a certified neonatal critical care RN gave the nurse a piercing look and said ” no she can do ut herself.” If my mother was worried or scared I could not tell and from that point on I had to take charge and be responsible. My mom did not pity me at all! Not even now after 36 years. After being diagnosed I did everything I wanted. I went to college, law school, and post graduate school and I never let the disease stop me. I believe I was able to excel is because my mother did not view the disease as a limitation so in essence I did not either. Sometimes I would like a little sympathy or pity but no way not from my mom! : )

  2. Profile photo of Sue HunterSue Hunter

    And all this while your mom was fighting her own autoimmune RA..Moms are always the greatest supporters but your mom has gone over the top from day 1 to make sure you were healthy and to certainly support you and Steve while you go through the daily struggle of dealing with your own daughter’s Type One..Jane is one in a million, that’s for sure !! Great article, Katie..

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