This week, a story was published in the St. John's daily newspaper The Telegram (www.thetelegram.com), detailing Sophie's journey for a Diabetic Alert Dog. We received a flurry of activity from all over the province and were simply overwhelmed at the response. First off, we need to tip our hat to Mr. Colin MacLean, the wonderful gentleman who took the time to write about Sophie's story, and have it placed front and centre in his newspaper! Mr. MacLean then took the time out of a day he was supposed to have off to write a follow-up piece about the Community's unbelievable response. What a great person, and again, another well-written story!
Again, another front page story in today's Telegram! In case you missed it, you can find a link to that story here:
As we said, this lead to an enormous level of activity, and we were fortunate enough to have the NTV evening news do a story as well. Out hats off to Mr. Larry Jay for doing such a great job with his piece (http://ntv.ca/?p=7601).
This all started for us with a short news story about another Canadian family living with diabetes in their young son, and was fuelled by our determination to find a better way to protect Sophie's future. We quickly set up this fundraising site, and were touched at the response we received on Facebook from all of our extended family and friends!
That initial response allowed us to make the initial $1000.00 deposit and claim a place on the active waiting list. What has ensued since then is nothing short of a miracle. The employees at Newfoundland Power chipped in with a donation box on the second floor of the Kenmount Road Office, and then things really got rolling!
The community response in our hometown of Deer Lake was wonderful, and it is because of the wonderful people there that Deer Lake will always be Home for us. Employees at a Fish Plant in Harbour Breton were rallied to action by my dear Aunt, and the local business community was engaged by my Parents and Grandmother. All of their efforts in all of this will never be forgotten! I (Jamie) spent a lot of my childhood time in Harbour Breton, and through all of my travels, it is still one of the most beautiful places I have ever set foot, and the residents of that fine town are a tangible reflection of that.
Next came the call from friends of ours in Newtown, NL, with the novel idea of selling "Paws" to patrons visiting the Barbour House Living Heritage Village there. Through their tireless efforts, they raised almost 20% of our total fundraising goal, and we honestly do not know what we would have done without them! Believe it or not, all because of something as simple as the need for a cup of coffee, a gentlemen from the Northern Peninsula representing the Charity "Andrea and Rebecca's Pennies For A Sick Kid" decided that his organization would like to make a donation, after stopping in to the Barbour House for a cup of coffee. Above and beyond this, that kind man also thought it would be a great idea to take some paws back to Fort McMurray (where he works) to sell there, and after selling a pile of paws more than two inches thick, he was compelled do send a second donation. Talk about amazing!
The employees at Kent Building Supplies in Mount Pearl decided that a tomato plant lottery would be a great way to raise some extra money for Sophie's puppy! Through the tireless efforts of a select few there [you know who you are ; )], another sizable contribution was made!
Getting back to our friends in Deer Lake, the local chapter of the Lions Club got behind our cause as well, and sent along a donation which really helped to push things along. To the wonderful residents of the Karwood Retirement Retreat, who held a Bazaar and sold 50/50 tickets for Sophie's cause, we could not be more grateful. We hope that our visit with you yesterday brightened each of your days as much as it did ours!
...... and let's not forget about our anonymous donor! We were contacted by a gentleman via our fundraising website simply stating that he would like to quietly "finish off" our fundraising. It took us all a while to gain our composure, and while somewhat skeptical of this persons true intent, we contacted him to arrange for a time to get together. One of the most inspiring people that we have ever met decided to change our lives forever on Wednesday, at our home in Paradise, and his personal story of triumph through adversity is incredible. Born an orphan, and having spent the first four years of his precious young life in the Janeway (much of that time hooked up to a ventilator), he was adopted into a caring and loving family. He started a business out of his garage, and a few months ago, the small chain of businesses that he worked to grow was bought out by a large corporation, making him a very successful individual. There are many people that we meet in our lives who are cynical about the hands that life has dealt them, and then there are those who choose to define themselves not by their personal circumstance, but rather by the true content of their character. This man, who quietly swooped in and gave so generously to our precious Sophie, is the true personification of the latter. A man who knows first hand the trials of personal hardship, and who wanted to make an impact in a sweet little girls life for the sole reason of doing something good, and not wanting any recognition for it in return. What is so touching about this person is not what he did, but how he did it. Thanks to him, Sophie's future is likely to be peachy!
And what's even more inspiring, is that this man was not the only person who contacted us with the same intentions! We were approached by another charity representing the interests of Diabetic Children in our province with the same intent, and how lucky are we that we had to graciously and respectfully decline their offer. Wow huh?
To those who bought tickets, let their kids play the fish pond or bean bag toss, helped with the prize bags, sold lemonade at lemonade stands, liked our fundraising page on Facebook, wrote about, told their friends about it, got behind our cause, supported our efforts for our daughter... all of the credit goes to you.
The greatest blessing in all of this is not that we have reached our goal, but that we have been so fortunate to have met so many wonderful, kind, generous, and passionate people through this journey! What an inspirational story that we have all penned here together! We hope that there are other families in our great province, whose lives have been taken and replaced by a life with Type 1 Diabetes, that will take comfort in our story, draw hope from it, and... as cliche as it may sound... know that if they put their minds to it, they can write their own story just as we did.
Again, from the bottom of Sophie's sweet little heart... Thanks.
It's been a while since I've been on here to do a blog post about our fundraising progress, and the amazing people that are calling us up out of the blue to contribute... and sometimes I beat myself up about not putting in the effort to get on here and post and write... but the reason that I haven't been able to upload more photos and post more stories is because of nights like tonight.
Tonight was/is site change night. For those not well versed in the art of T1D pump therapy, allow me to explain. Sophie's pump delivers insulin into her body via a site which is comprised of a plastic "straw" called a cannula that is inserted through the skin into her subcutaneous tissue via a needle, and kept in place with a circular adhesive "dressing." Sophie calls her site her "sticker" and so, in turn, we call it her sticker as well. This is how she gets her insulin, since her pancreas doesn't work anymore.
So, tonight we had to change her sticker, as it needs to be removed and replaced every three days to avoid potential for infection. Every time we change her sticker though, we run the risk of having a bad site, where something is wrong with the insulin delivery path into her body (bent cannula, kinked tubing, bad tubing, bad sticker... etc). The SCARY part about all of this is that an interruption in insulin delivery for as little as 5 hours can put her into Diabetic Ketoacidosis... a condition where the blood sugar is incredibly high and can lead to some pretty devastating things.
So, after another glorious sugar day all day today (with no reading below 5 or above 8 - on a roll with days lately), we check at 10:30pm as she sleeps and she's 13.9mmol/l. That's a high BG, but not a critically high BG, so we don't sweat it and leave her basal alone to see if it will come down on it's own, which it typically does. We check again at 11:40pm to make sure that it isn't a bad site, and she's 22.4mmol/l!!! That's really high! So, we decide to give a bolus to clear the high and check again in two hours.
Once we bolus her late at night, all bets are off, and we are on the watch for a low blood sugar swing for the rest of the night. She woke at around 12:30am and had to pee (the body's natural response to combating an extremely high BG) and very sweetly tiptoed in to the bathroom to do her potty, flushed the toilet herself, and after a big hug and a kiss, said thanks and rolled over to go back to sleep.
Checking her again at 2:00 am, she was now 26.4mmol/l! This is getting serious. We give another bolus, and get everything prepped for another site change. Checking again at 3:20am she's 27.2mmol/l and so, enough's enough, and we get the site change all geared up. Heidi (who is supposed to be having the night off as we alternate night checking duties) gets Sophie prepped, and I pick her up from her Disney Princess bed sheets and cuddle her close. Sophie wakes up, looks at me, smiles, tells me she loves me, and asks for a drink of water. We tell her that her sugar is really really high, and that we are really sorry, but we need to do a new sticker. She says that's ok.
With that said, we insert the 9mm needle into Sophie's left butt cheek, she winces, but doesn't cry or complain. When we are all done, we give her kisses and hugs, she looks up and smiles, says thanks, and that she loves us. It's 3:35am, she's been poked and prodded at all night, her sugar is sky high (meaning that her head likely feels as though it's being squeezed by a worlds strongest man contestant, she has an unquenchable thirst, and is dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented)... but rather than complain, cry, scream... all perfectly justifiable responses given the circumstances and how she must be feeling, she instead smiles, thanks us, and tells us that she loves us.
Sometimes, calling it complacency or whatever else fits the bill, I wonder about all of the generosity that we have experienced up to now, and how wonderful perfect strangers, acqaintances, and close family and friends can be! What makes our cause so special, to elicit the response that it has up to now?
Then we have a night like tonight. It's nights like tonight that quickly make me remember. It's sweet little Sophie, the one who puts up with so much but never complains, and how she deserves better, and how her Diabetic Alert Dog will help to eliminate all of this. It's nights like tonight that re-calibrate our perspective, make us so thankful for all of those who have helped us in our efforts, and strengthen our resolve to do our best for our Princess.
We had an amazing weekend in Deer Lake, touched by the overwhelming support of the community here! We are so grateful for everyone's support, and will have more to follow in the form of pictures and commentary - stay tuned!
So last week, a Facebook post by the lovely Andrea Marshall went a little something like this:
A very heartfelt gesture which we thought was amazing... and what's more amazing is the response that ensued...
A seed was planted in the "Twitterverse" by Rhea Boye, the lovely daughter of Chancey Boye, who just so happens to be a distant cousin of Heidi's on her Pop Baxter Barrett's side of the family! Chancey got the shout-out from Andrea...
And from that seed grew an overwhelming response - to the tune of almost $1000.00... yes, that's correct, and I didn't insert an extra zero by accident - $1000.00!!!!!!! That's incredible, and has pushed us over the 20% mark for our total fundraising goal! Thanks in large part to the "gamers" from the States that answered the call from Rhea and the rest of her family. So let's all give it up for the gamers!
We can't thank you enough Andrea, Chancey, Rhea, and friends, and if you find yourself in our neck of the woods, we would love to introduce you to Sophie and her furry lifesaving friend!
On a side note, the owner of Doodlekit, the company which is hosting our website, has upgraded our site from the basic free version, which eliminates the presence of ads on our site, and allows us to do more things with the site. These doodlekit sites are extremely easy to put together, and we wanted to make sure we said thanks to the folks at doodlekit for their kind gesture.
There must be an old saying out there somewhere about how there are people in this world who band together for a common cause, give of themselves for that cause, and for no other reason than just be-cause... and if that addage isn't out there, I guess it is now! : )
So what am I getting on with now...? Allow me to explain...
So - I had a chat with my Aunt June Lilly last week - a chat about a fundraising effort that she had started at the fish plant where she works in Harbour Breton, NL. She said that some people had expressed interest in donating, and after she had placed a poster about Sophie and her quest for a Diabetic Alert Doggie, we received the staggering sum of $440.00!!!!!!!!!
That's huge - and it came from an amazing group of people that work long and hard hours - but they took the time out of their day, and the money from their pockets, to donate to Sophie for her "yewwow" (yellow) doggie.
We can't thank-you enough - from the bottom of our hearts - we just can't thank-you enough! Thank-you Joyce Skinner, Audrey Hickey, Rosaline Lambert*, Gen Day, Gladys Drakes, Lillian Stewart, Christine Organ, Maisie Cornish, Laverne Jackman, Joanne Pierce, Margaret Rose, Linda Snook, Shelly Colombe, Marilyn Skinner, Brenda Cox, Wanda Skinner, Christine Pierce, Holly Hillyard, Marjorie Day, Jillian Mullins, Melvin Hunt, Dianne Mullins, Kerwin Langdon, Ivy Snook, Darlene Shinne, Gladys Griffin, Erenestine Stoodeley, Linda C., Flaranie Whittle, Laura Lambert, Darlene Foresey, Georgina Day, Melinda Langdon, Mechelle Hunt, Marion Colombe, Margaret Langdon, Marion Strowbridge, Marie Bond, Elizabeth Day, Jane Tibbo, Bonnie Cox, Rhonda Stewart, Lillian Pardy, Anne Johnston, Vera Mullins, Florance Snook, Denise Moors, Janie Power, Sandra Bungay, Margaret Molloy, Sharon Skinner, Lenora Whittle, Carolyn Drake, Elaine Baker, Gloria Pierce, Mart Pardy, Mary Cox, Ida Bungay, Garotte Pierce, Eleen Griffin*, Gerald Dobbin*, Veronica Skinner, Susie Snook, Wallace Tibbo, Geraldine Skinner, Maxine Pierce, Shirley Skinner*, Charlotte Price, Gilbert Oke, Linsay Rose, Darell Marks, Wayne Jensen, Carmelita Hynes, Eileen Lilly, Daphne Stoodley, Sandra Pierce, Gladys Shephard, Sherry Skinner, Leo and Ann Stewart, and Reg Tibbo.
... Whew, that's quite a group. I hope I have spelled everyone's names correctly, as some of them were hard to make out on the list. The lovely folks with the * next to their names are not actually employees at Northern Processing Inc, but thought enough of the cause to donate anyway... what else can we say, except one last heartfelt thanks for this exceptional bunch, and an extra special thanks to our Aunt June - you are wonderful! We love you!
While trying to maintain our composure, it is simply impossible to explain just how amazed we are with the response from all of you. We are fundraising in search of a guardian angel for our precious little one (preferably "yellow")... who woulda thought we already had so many guardian angels in all of you. From the bottom of Sophie's sweet little heart - THANK YOU!
We have officially kicked off our efforts to raise funds for a diabetic alert dog for our inspiring little Sophie!
Please check back frequently to monitor our progress! We will be holding fundraising events throughout the year to move us to our first milestone, a $1000.00 deposit which secures our place in line. We hope to get the dog in approximately 8-12 months.
Also, take a look at the following breeder snippit to learn more about these amazing service animals and the impact they are having on the diabetic community: