Zach is a great guy. He has Juvenile Diabetes and is only 9 years old. He is a child that has endured more hardships and faces more challenges every day, than most of us face in a lifetime. Here is Zach’s story in his mother’s words:
“Zach is nine years old. He was born in Newport, Arkansas on June 8, 2000. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January 2007. Zach had several febrile seizures as an infant. He spent his first Christmas at Harris Hospital in Newport. He failed kindergarten due to unknown poor eyesight in his first year of school. His poor eyesight has been linked to his diabetes that went undiagnosed for five and a half years. He now has a learning disability that requires a personal tutor. He goes through five to six pairs of glasses a year because of childhood mishaps. We have tried contacts, but they were irritating to his eyes.
He also has been diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). We suspect this condition could be the result of five and a half years of type one diabetes that went unchecked. I had initially noticed that he was drinking an unusual amount of fluids, and asked the doctor to check his glucose level. The doctor was hesitant about checking, but with Zach’s maternal and paternal grandmothers having diabetes he went ahead with my suggestion. That day, Zach’s glucose levels was in the upper 600’s, and was immediately sent to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
Most days he has to go with me through the week because of the difficulty of finding a babysitter willing to take on the responsibility of caring for a diabetic child. However there are a few friends willing to take care of him when they can.
Zach’s blood sugar must be monitored constantly. Every time he eats, drinks, or chews anything that has carbohydrates he must check his blood sugar. He can’t have a single candy corn without taking insulin. Any time his blood sugar goes high it has a negative affect on his eyesight. He is close to being legally blind. He misses class time at school because of his blood sugar fluctuating. It is difficult coordinating his breakfast diet during school because we have only had a breakfast menu in the last two months of his second grade. We have no way to know what he has been served without the school giving a daily menu like they do with lunches. The breakfast menu can change without notice like is done with lunches. When Zach was first diagnosed with diabetes, he thought it was cool and fun to check his sugar. He thinks it is boring and repetitive. Now he has calluses and sores on the tips of his fingers. He has the same perspective on taking shots of insulin. We encourage him to calculate the amount of insulin he needs for the carbohydrates he needs and to give himself shots of insulin on a daily basis.
Zach’s peers at school think he is given preferential treatment over them for his illness. He just wants to play and be treated like he doesn’t have a problem. This will never be an option for him. If there is a field trip, I must go or he has to stay home depending on my schedule.
We give Zach insulin every time he consumes carbohydrates. He doesn’t understand the life implications of his condition. Despite our warnings and trepidations, Zach has a passion for life that is uncharacteristic. He has little or no fear in his actions.”
After hearing Zach’s story I wondered how this site could help him. Zach needs to feel like a normal kid in spite of his disease. We asked Zach for a wish list of things he would like and one of the top things he asked for was a computer of his own. We contacted Nomac Drilling based in Searcy, AR and asked if I could post his story in their National Training Facility. The men and women of Nomac donated generously to help out Zach. In less than 1 week, we raised enough money to buy Zach a new computer. This great outpouring of generosity was from the hard working employees who are facing their own adversity in this economy.