Two Notre Dame Titans have been educating the community and raising funds for a cause they hold close to their hearts— type 1 diabetes.
Aubrey Boland, sophomore, and Mackenzie Brown, junior, are both diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, which constantly has them looking after their health.
“Diabetes is so silent, because I hadn’t even heard of type 1 before my diagnosis last year,” Boland said. “It has involved a lot of needles. I give myself shots of insulin everyday and I check my blood sugar at least eight times a day. I have to check my blood sugar all the time, because it getting high or low is dangerous. High blood sugar could put me back in the hospital and low could cause me to pass out.”
Mother Traci Price-Boland is a nurse and said that she was even overwhelmed by everything involved in treating type 1 diabetes when she first started helping her daughter.
“It is sudden and out of the blue. You start racking your brain and you need to know what is wrong with your child, because they are so sick then they first start to show,” Price-Boland said. “Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the education is intensive. You’re there for days, if not a week, at the hospital, learning calculations and numbers and all of that. Even though I am a nurse, it was like bringing home a newborn baby; it was scary.”
Aubrey Boland said it has been a learning, curve, but she understands her issues and wants to help other children.
“Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that affects the pancreas. Type 1 diabetics cannot produce insulin, like everyone else, since their pancreas does not work at all,” Aubrey Boland said. “There is no way to prevent this disease, nor is there a cure for it. It is a lifelong disease, but hopefully one day there will be a cure.”
Since there is a lot know, when understanding type 1 diabetes, the Bolands have teamed up with Mackenzie Brown and her mother Kim Adkins-Brown to make a difference.
“We’ve been educating the little kids about diabetes, setting up informational displays, talking to our class, and more,” Brown said. “We started, because we felt like we had to do something; there is a type 1 diabetic in the third grade. We have taught her classmates about it and have told them stories. We feel the need to help.”
Brown said that she believes she and her friend have already made an impact on their school.
“I feel like I am someone they can look up to, and I am able to help out any other little kid with diabetes,” Brown said. “With helping the third grader, Gracie, I feel like she has found a friend in us and she knows we are here for her.”
Brown said the two have also raised money for a fund they set up at Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC), called the SOMC Annual Development Fund for Juvenile Diabetes.
“The girls set it up (SOMC Annual Development Fund for Juvenile Diabetes) and the money will go directly towards children who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, because there is not an endocrinologist in this area,” Traci Price-Boland explained. “Every three months, they have to go to the doctor, so that is four trips a year to Columbus or Cincinnati and back. It can cost a lot for gas, food, and other hardships, such as babysitter fees.”
The two are currently planning a major campaign to raise funds for the SOMC fund, which will in the form of a basketball game between Portsmouth and Notre Dame.
The game will be November 24 at 6 p.m. at Portsmouth High School. General admission is $5.
The basketball game is being organized in honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month and guests are encouraged to wear blue clothing for a “blue out.”
The ladies are also selling shirts for the game for $10, so guests are able to further show their support for the effort by wearing them to the game. Order forms for the shirts can be found at Portsmouth High School, Notre Dame High School, and by contacting Traci Price-Boland or Kim Adkins-Brown through Facebook.
Money raising campaigns for this fund will be ongoing and won’t stop with the basketball event.
The ladies said they are currently in the process of setting up a Facebook page and they will soon be updating the community on their achievements through that.
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.