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[IP] Diabetes Awareness Month

The following is a letter that we sent to our local paper regarding
Diabetes Awareness Month.  It was published in yesterday's edition of
the Record-Journal in Meriden, CT.  We've had lots of positive local
response.  It's time to educate more people about what "diabetes
families" endure on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, we were limited to
300 words - we had a LOT more we wanted to say!

Sharon, proud mom of Steven

Can you think of anything a kid hates more than getting a shot? I can't,
but from the time I was 5 years old until this past July when I went on
an insulin pump, I had to take four shots of insulin a day just to stay
alive. I'm like any other 13 year old kid. I love my dog Montana, my
computer, traveling with my family and being with my friends. There's
only one exception - I have
Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes. So far, since I was diagnosed in 1991, I
have had approximately 8,760 shots and have pricked my fingers over
17,000 times to check my blood sugar.

I am telling you this because November is National Diabetes Awareness
Month and I want people to know what it means to have my type of
diabetes because most people don't. They think about the kind of
diabetes that happens to the elderly or people who are overweight. They
don't even know what the warning signs are for Type 1 - like frequent
urination, excessive thirst, weight loss and extreme hunger. 

Most people think that insulin is a cure for diabetes, but it isn't.
It's just a way to stay alive until a cure is found. My insulin is now
delivered into my body continuously, 24 hours a day, by an insulin pump,
through a thin flexible tube under my skin. By controlling my blood
sugars, I can hopefully avoid complications like blindness or kidney

This month, please learn more about diabetes, especially Type 1. Please
join me in telling our congresspeople in Washington to provide more
funds for diabetes research. We all need to work together to find a
cure, so that my pump will become obsolete. 

STEVEN TARCA, Yalesville, CT
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