For more information please follow his story at Charlie’s New Reality on Facebook.
What’s a DAD (Diabetic Alert Dog) and how it could save Charlie’s life!
Let’s first discuss the different types of diabetes to help better understand Charlie’s condition.
Type 1 diabetes usually is diagnosed before the age of 20, caused by the pancreas (organ that secretes insulin) destroying autoantibodies and this is why type 1 diabetics need insulin shots.
Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1, caused by insulin resistance, and this causes the insulin that is being produced not able to work correctly. So unlike type 1 diabetes, the body actually does create insulin and by changing your lifestyle (diet and exercise) you can control type 2 diabetes.
Why a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) could save Charlie’s life!
A D.A.D are dogs specially trained to assist individuals with disabilities such as diabetes. A D.A.D is “trained to use their highly sensitive scent capabilities to identify the changes in blood chemistry that occur during rapid changes in blood sugar levels.” (Our Dogs Save Lives, 2013) When a D.A.D notifies the owner or parents of the diabetic individual, precautions can be taken before symptoms occur instead of waiting for the blood sugar to drop to dangerously low levels. How the dog notifies the diabetic may vary based on training of the dog, as each trainer is different. Training is extensive and expensive, these dogs are trained to save lives, and therefore the price truly is irrelevant. But to understand why we are raising money for Charlie’s D.A.D we will explain to you cost.
What are diabetic alert dog cost, training, and ongoing cost?
D.A.D’s are trained for up to two years and while living in the home of their new owners. We have researched training cost alone and we’ve found roughly estimated for training alone: $5000.00 – $15,000.00. This doesn’t include breeding of quality dogs, raising quality breeds, or other training. In our research we have found roughly estimated D.A.D completely trained for: $20,000 – $50,000.
Thanksgiving was a complete success! Charlie only had one low that didn’t last long, he enjoyed a wonderful dinner, and the family gathering was so joyous! We are all thankful that Charlie’s diabetes was caught early on and in time to take other measures to prevent other complications. Grandma even made Charlie a special pie and some portioned sides of food ahead of time. It was a very joyous Thanksgiving!
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Charlie’s story from mommy:
Charlie was due on my birthday: May 18th but due to him being breech he was scheduled for a C-section on May 13th. Yup Friday the 13th but I am not superstition so I didn’t mind. My pregnancy was relatively easy, Charlie was stubborn with the flipping into breech positions but he was born healthy weighing 9lbs and 11oz. I breastfed Charlie for just over a year, he was crawling at six months to the day, and walking nine months to the day. Beyond this we taught him sign language to be able to ask for what he wanted before he could actually speak. To date he still knows some of the sign language which he uses when he talks.
He is named after my father and his father’s grandfather. Charles Elliott! I love the name……..
Fast forward a year…….
September 2013: Being that three of our four children were now attending school, Charlie was the only child home with me all day. He became clingy but I didn’t take notice of this as I thought it was because his brother wasn’t home to play with. This continued…. In October we had season passes to Great America, Charlie was excited to go on the rides, and after a weekend at Great America I noticed Charlie was thirsty more than normal. I figured it was because we had a long weekend but this continued….. The following weekend Ron and I went to Great America while my mother cared for Charlie. After returning from this weekend Charlie would cry uncontrollably if I told him he wasn’t allowed water before bedtime. When I did allow him water he would leak through his diapers excessively. Neither diapers nor pull ups helped with the excessive leaking and this continued……
November 2nd: Charlie’s big sister and big brother; Juliette and Jr had their birthday party at our home. Charlie was acting in no way, different. He was himself, he was happy go lucky, and being himself. The only big difference at this point was the excessive urination. At this point I started monitoring the water intake and it accumulated to about a gallon in two hours. Seven diapers an hour while also being potty trained! So during the birthday party my friend Christie mentioned Charlie was shaking, my mother mentioned Charlie had been shaking the weekend before, and this is the point that I knew something was wrong. After the party I called the on call nurse, she demanded we do not wait till tomorrow to seek medical attention for Charlie. So we rushed to the emergency room; it was just Charlie and I because daddy was in New York for work. The news we were about to receive touched the core of every family member, every loved one, and anyone involved in our lives!
I thought we would be back in one hour, I suspected an uti, I called my husband in New York (which was 1am at this point), and told him I would keep him updated. Charlie and I were only in the emergency room for five minutes before they rushed us back. At which point I went through a list of questions, the nurses checked Charlie’s blood glucose levels, and then rechecked it assuming it was wrong. The second sugar glucose check left a look on the nurses face that I had never saw before and then they told me his levels were at 600! This was a foreign language to me, what does that mean, is it too high, too low, and what is going on?
The moment that changed our lives forever:
The nurses told me that the levels were extremely high, too high, and that I needed to call someone to be there with me. In the awe of everything that had been happening they told me “Charlie has diabetes”……
I lost is completely, called my husband crying my eyes out, and telling him to call his mom and stepdad. Charlie ADORES “Grandma Bob” (yup he calls him grandma, just something that makes Charlie so darn adorable) and Grandma Sherry. I figured they could help us, calm me, calm Charlie, and their presence would mean the world to me. They were also the closest family.
Once again they took his levels, his sugars were at 1052 but there were no ketones in his urine! This is highly unusual. In this moment we were told that Charlie had to be transferred and admitted to Milwaukee’s Children Hospital. Daddy was trying so hard to find the first flight home, it was the New York Marathon so everyone was coming into New York yet he just wanted to get home to his family, his son, and the situation at hand.
In route to Milwaukee’s Children Hospital my two year old son was hooked up to his IV, I road in the ambulance, and the paramedic tried keeping my mind as ease by talking about his child also asking me about Charlie’s milestones in life. Grandma and Grandpa were shortly behind us! While in Milwaukee they rechecked his levels, sugar level had come down to 500 by just being on a saline alone! We stayed there most of the morning; daddy was in route to be home about 11am. After being released we were told about the classes we had to take to maintain and manage type 1 diabetes for our son. These classes that would train us as parents, to keep our son alive!
Yes that’s correct in order to keep our son alive we had to be trained! We had to learn in such a short time about this illness that nearly took our son’s life! An illness that we could have never prevented, we could have never foreseen it and that now we are dealing with every emotion that comes with being a parent to a diabetic child, who is only two years old. And unless you’re a parent in our shoes, I can’t even begin to tell you what those feelings are……..
First Class: Basic Survival, learning how to give him a shot and what his meal plans would be.
Second Class: Learning what highs and lows are, the causes, and what to do if Charlie goes unconscious.
Third Class: Learning his insulin dose(s) in regards to what he eats. So if we didn’t like math before, we surely do now. It’s a constant measuring game of every single thing he eats! If we underestimate it could be deadly, if we overestimate it could be deadly, so now is the time when food is a weapon to our son!!! Yes food is a deadly weapon, who would have ever known!
Our next class is in January at which point we will learn about sickness management, being diabetics with a cold can also be deadly! This is our next journey in learning how to keep our son alive!
The first week of giving insulin shots was a parent’s worst nightmare! He didn’t like them, we had to hold him down, and how in only one week did our whole life get turned upside down. Charlie has always been an easy going child, he is loving and cuddly but he also runs, jumps, and climbs! He loves everyone especially his sisters and brothers, and he even still remembers Cody which is our chocolate lad who passed away in May of 2013.
In our efforts of spreading Juvenile Diabetes Awareness and Charlie’s story we are seeking help for a Diabetic Alert Dog. This is all new to us, we have many unanswered questions as well, but we know that a D.A.D Dog would help us tremendously with Charlie’s high and lows. In our awareness efforts we want to remind everyone that diabetes knows NO age, gender, or race. We bypassed the simple and innocent signs that seemed normal to us; do you know the signs of Juvenile Diabetes? If not it’s time to do research, we remind you we have three older children who are NOT diabetic so it goes to show diabetes knows no judgment. On the other side, we are in need of a D.A.D Dog because if we missed the early on signs then could we miss something else, could someone else miss a sign of a high/low, and we could use extra measures to help save Charlie’s life.
We have attached a link to Charlie’s Wepay account; we have a goal of $30,000 for the cost of the new family member (the d.a.d dog), training for our new family member, and traveling cost that may be occurred during the process. Please remember to train a diabetic dog is an ongoing process of two years. We have researched nonprofits that assist in “donations” of D.A.D dogs but we would prefer to take a different route. We appreciate all the help we receive and we thank you for helping us, help Charlie! Thank you as well for taking the time to read Charlie’s story, becoming a part of Team Charlie, and we ask for tons of prayers!
Charlie is only two years young yet has been diagnosed with Childhood Diabetes Type 1………. Just a few short weeks ago! In this blog you will receive two viewpoints! One from myself, Anna; girlfriend of Charlie’s uncle. Another view point from his parents; Ron and Trish. As their lives are busy with not only working, dealing with dr’s appointments hours away, learning how to save their youngest of four children’s life, they also work while maintaining their home; as normal as possible.
My view point (Anna):
Charlie is a vibrant, smart, and adorable two year old little man! He is a charmer; he will capture your heart with just a smile. He has two older sisters and one older brother; in which all are very smart and beautiful children. He is the baby of the family but in reality he has now been called to be the strongest of the family.
On November 3rd, 2013 I was visiting my sister (in-law), which is the grandmother of Charlie. I went to bed a little early in her guest bedroom but only to be awaken a few short hours later by a frantic grandmother saying they had to leave now because Charlie was been taken to the Children’s Hospital because his sugar levels were over 1000. I know, 1000 sounds like a miracle who was fighting for his life, and that he did! His whole family has……. Of course I wondered how I could help but then again its so cliché to ask what I can do when you know the last thing this family is thinking about is favors from others. So I just tossed and turned all night, wondering what was going on, how Charlie was doing, and what the future would hold. I didn’t even know children could get diabetes and especially at two years old. He didn’t look like he had it, I didn’t know many signs but to me I wouldn’t of guessed this, and how can an innocent child become a diabetic when he has the rest of his life to live. The thoughts were like rain, they didn’t stop! The night grew into morning, the sun came up, and there were few updates but I appreciated any update. His father was in New York for work, his mother had taken Charlie to the hospital because of bladder concerns, and then a bombshell gets dropped. The whole time I kept thinking “God this family needs a break”!
The news came early in the morning, after sleeping restless for only a few hours; Charlie was type 1 diabetic! To me as an outsider, I had no clue what that meant. It was like someone spoke Spanish to me but if the words Type 1 Childhood Diabetes sounded like Spanish to me; you can only imagine what Ron and Trish heard. Your whole life changes in a flash, your child’s life is forever changed in a matter of moments, and just knowing he won’t ever remember this time of diagnosis’s yet he’ll have to live with the illness his whole life!
Charlie: The vibrant, happy go lucky and so lovable little two year big blue eyed boy has Type 1 Childhood Diabetes! You can’t sit back and question why, for there is no time to ask why! Diabetes knows no time, it knows no gender, age, or race, and lastly it knows no cure either! So we can’t sit back and say “Let’s raise the money to get him fixed” or “I wonder if insurance will pay for his cure”, there simply is NO CURE! But there are tons of things we can do for Charlie and that is why I started this blog! I can’t cure him, I can’t begin to understand what his parents are going through; as I have seen the fear and tears in their eyes, and I can’t promise everything will be ok but I can fight like hell on behalf of Charlie! We all can, so let’s start this fight together!
Please follow our blog for more updates of this blog, follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CharliesFight2013 , and keep the family in your prayers!!!