“Mommy, why is there sugar in my ear?” Seven-and-a-half year old Amelie Evans asked her mother sleepily one morning this past January. The night before was one that Alysia Evans was not prepared for.
Her daughter Amelie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age six months. Her husband Wayne and then 5-year old daughter Madelyn adjusted as families do with children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes — pricking fingers to test blood sugar, moving test sites of her insulin pump in later years, and watching carb/sugar intake every day. The ritual of getting up at 3am to check Amelie’s blood sugar level every night has not stopped since her age of diagnosis.
One night this past January, Amelie’s blood sugar level was low as they checked it while she slept. Alysia and her husband gave her orange juice in a sippy cup when she was half awake, as sometimes they’ve had to do, in order for her sugar level to rise. It didn’t. Soon they were quickly feeding her spoonful after spoonful of sugar for it to rise. Sleepiness changed and Amelie began to have a seizure. Alysia grabbed the treatment of last resort before the emergency room — a syringe with a hormone and glucose mix. Alysia jabbed the long needle into Amelie’s thigh. Her blood sugar level rose after injection. Covered in sugar, they got Amelie the help she needed as quickly as they could. The next morning, Amelie remembered nothing about what happened. Alysia had to try to explain to her daughter, as carefully as she could, about the health crisis brought on by her disease.
Alysia and Wayne Evans have an 18-month old daughter Molly. Compared to her, Amelie’s life expectancy is seven years less than her sister who does not have diabetes. Alysia took the job as Development Manger of JDRF, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, for one reason and one reason only — find a cure for Amelie and children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
Saturday, November 10th at 8:30am in Audubon Park will be the annual NOLA JDRF’s Walk for the Cure. Ameile will have her family team, along with other families, schools, and corporate teams, and together we will walk to raise funds and awareness for those with Type 1 diabetes. We hope you can join her and all of us as we commit to the reseach and making lives better for children like Amelie.
We work towards children living longer with the disease, and ensuring future generations have the opportunity to live without the disease. Someday, we hope, no child will ever have to wake up one morning with sugar in her ear.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Each year, more than 15,000 children and 15,000 adults – approximately 80 people per day – are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the U.S. Learn the warning signs.