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A Mother’s Walk to Fight Juvenile Diabetes

Pam Cole participating in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in honor of her son Guy.

An Avon Lake mother is doing what she can to help her son fight a disease he battles with every day.

“My son, Guy Dickey Jr., was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, or Type 1 diabetes, on Oct. 10, 2003 at the age of 2. Guy battles with diabetes each and every day,” Pam Cole, Guy’s mother said. “At 11, he has been fighting to maintain normal blood sugars for 9 years. He needs to constantly be aware of everything he eats and drinks. He needs to always be aware of how he feels to know if his glucose levels are too high or low. He needs to constantly check his sugar, count his carbs, and give himself the correct amount of insulin.”

The family includes Pam's husband Jeff, daughter Marisa Dickey, 15, and daughter Izzy Cole, 2, and Jeff's twins Jeffrey and Megan Cole, 22.

Guy, a fifth-grader at Troy Intermediate School in Avon Lake, checks his insulin 6-8 times a day, drawing blood with a finger poke.

“Imagine getting your finger poked 6-8 times a day,” Cole said. “That is over 20,000 finger pricks since he was diagnosed.

“Imagine having your child’s blood sugar go so low in which he starts having seizures. The wait seems like forever as he is laying there in your arms, while you wait for his blood sugar to come back up enough so that he realized what happens.”

Cole will be participating in this year’s Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon as part of Team JDRF to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The JDRF is the largest worldwide organization dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes. In a typical year, over 80 cents of every dollar raised goes directly to research. And thanks to research funded by organizations such as JDRF, people with diabetes have a new sense of hope.

Scientists have made significant advances in approaching a cure for Type 1 diabetes including this breakthrough announced on May 9. She will be walking in the half-marathon portion of the national event on May 19.

"I walked my first half marathon three years ago when I was 5 months pregnant with my third child," she said "And since my son was diagnosed, I have formed a walk team and participated in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo every year since his diagnosis. This is my first year that I am walking the half marathon for Team JDRF. My goal is to finish in three hours."

And although she has personal goals set, her reason for walking is clear.

“(I’ll be walking) in honor of my son Guy,” Cole said. “I am training hard to make a positive difference in my life and in the lives of people with type 1 diabetes.”

Guy believes he has a bright future, free from diabetes.

“He amazes me with his ability to deal with diabetes and doesn't miss a beat when it comes to being a kid,” Cole said. “He anxiously waits for a cure, and we believe a cure is out there, just waiting to be found.

“As a parent, though, my greatest challenge has been watching how this has changed his life and knowing how little there is that I can do to fix this for him.”

She said insulin is not a cure, “It is merely his life support.”

She is hoping to use her participation in the Cleveland Marathon to help raise funds to advance treatment to a cure.

“Will you accept the challenge to make a difference by supporting us?” she asked. “All you need to do is click on the link to view our fundraising page and to make an online donation.

“My son has a tough road ahead of him and with your help; we can make the cure a reality.”

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