Wednesday 13 April 2011

From the non-Blog Archives: "Team Dylan Intent on Finding a Cure"

As our family gets set to launch this year's fundraising campaign for the JDRF TELUS Walk to Cure Diabetes in Vancouver on June 12, 2011, I've been looking back at some of the walk/fundraising highlights of the past 5 years, and I stumbled across this article, featured during our fundraising campaign in 2008. I was reminded of how powerful and helpful the media can be in getting out a message and how, as diabetes advocates, we can never underestimated its ability.

This article appeared in my local community paper after I sent a brief email to the paper telling them about Dylan and the upcoming JDRF walk. A reporter responded, inviting us to come in the news office for an interview and she ran the story the next week. Super easy.

From the North Shore News, May 20th, 2008:

"Team Dylan intent on finding a cure
With the help of his family and friends, a youth ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is leading the charge to raise funds and awareness for children who share his diagnosis.

With the help of his family and friends, a youth ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) is leading the charge to raise funds and awareness for children who share his diagnosis.

North Vancouver resident Dylan Thomas, 7, a Grade 2 student at Queensbury elementary, was diagnosed with juvenile (type 1) diabetes, the most severe form of the life-long disease, three days before his fifth birthday. More than two million Canadians have some form of diabetes and more than 200,000 have type 1.

For two years Dylan was given three insulin injections a day along with three blood tests to check his blood glucose levels. Six months ago, he began wearing an insulin pump to better control his blood glucose. Today, he fully monitors the pump himself, with the exception of every three days when it's time to change the infusion set which his mom Jen Aragon helps him with. According to Aragon, while the change has certainly made an impact on Dylan's life, it's far from a cure. To support research efforts, for the last three years, their family has participated in the JDRF's Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes, and this year is no different. The family-oriented event is intended to increase awareness about juvenile diabetes as well as raise funds to support research efforts.

Aragon is the team captain of Team Dylan, which is currently comprised of 31 friends and family intent on raising a minimum of $10,000 for the cause through their participation in the five-kilometre walk. Aragon says she expects the team to grow to 50 members by event day.

The local walk is being held Sunday, May 25 at Burnaby's Swangard Stadium. The national event attracts more than 45,000 Canadians annually. In 2007, $6.5 million was raised and organizers hope to increase that total to more than $7 million this year. The JDRF is the leading charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research worldwide.

Aragon, who is also a member of the walk organizing committee and volunteers as a mentor through the foundation to newly diagnosed families, says Dylan's diagnosis came as quite a shock. "I didn't know anything about diabetes before he was diagnosed," she says. "No one in my family has ever had it." Dylan got extremely sick quite suddenly over a weekend and they initially thought he had the flu. He was drinking a lot of fluids, going to the bathroom constantly and was still dehydrated. He was tired and pale and he lost five pounds over 48 hours. A subsequent blood test showed Dylan was diabetic. "He had a blood sugar reading of 51," says Aragon. "His target range is between five and eight, so anything over about 12 is considered dangerous. They figured he was within 24 hours of going into a coma."

Two years later, Dylan's health is regulated and he's very much your average, active little boy, yet his diabetes constantly has to be monitored making it something that's always on his mind.

Dylan's 11-year-old brother Josh, a Grade 6 student at Queensbury elementary, also thinks about diabetes a lot. "If his blood sugar gets too low, he can have a seizure," says Aragon. This has happened to Dylan twice, both times in the middle of the night. The brothers share a room, so Josh tends to sleep with one eye open, she says.

Dylan and his family have issued a call to all community members to participate in this year's walk. "It's fun," says Josh, who adds he enjoys the event as it helps his brother and others with the disease. It's loaded with tons of kid-friendly activities making for a great day, in addition to a great cause, says Aragon. Registration gets underway at 8:30 p.m. and the walk starts at 11 a.m. For information or to become a participant visit" 

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