Off the Dial

Kids Rally for Kids

Imagine your whole school cheering for you. Six young students at St. Mark Catholic School in Huntersville had that experience this week. It was the kick off to their JDRF Kids Walk and it was wonderful.

I MC'd the event and talked with a few of the families.  The Langbo family has 4 children at St. Mark's, three of them have type 1.  I spoke with their oldest, Luke about what it's like to have your school cheer you on. In this video, you'll also hear from Luke's mom, Terri Langbo and an adorable second grader named Robert.

(Sorry about the audio levels - it starts out LOUD!  I'm using a Flip camera and I don't think it likes the noisy crowd.)


The guy doing the jumping jacks is former NFL player Tony George. He has type 1 diabetes and he spoke about what that means for an athlete. He also talked to the children about the importance of staying fit and exercising whether you have diabetes or not. They loved him.

A few quick pix (more on Facebook):

My view from the stage:


Thanks to the Panthers for sending Sir Purr.


And to the Checkers for sending Chubby.


Here I am with these amazing families. On the left is Robert's mom and little sister. On the right, part of the Langbo family. All four children in this picture have type 1 diabetes.


The JDRF Kids Walk is a little different from the big chapter walks that happen once a year. You can find out more about both here.

My son Benny's had type 1 diabetes for five years; I've been to a lot of JDRF events. I have to say, though, there is something incredible about seeing an entire school stand up and cheer for their friends. I got pretty emotional right before I had to speak. It was overwhelming – in a great way. 

Children of the Year

Ten weeks from now, our local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will announce the Man and Woman of the year. It's a great event and a competition that raises tens of thousands of dollars for blood cancer research. The best part, though, is the celebration of the Boy & Girl of the Year.

This year, they are Michael Price and Jordan Jemsek. I had the privilege of meeting them and their families at last night's LLS Kickoff event. You may have heard of Jordan – she's been in the news a lot over the past year.

WBT's Keith Larson has covered Jordan's story for a long time. He's gotten to know the family well enough that he even went to Jordan's birthday party last year. It was a princess party and he did his best to fit in.


In this picture I'm asking Jordan to talk about what Keith wore. A tiara? Here's the video (includes an announcement about Michael, Jordan's mom Kay and then Keith & Jordan together):


WBTV's Molly Grantham also got to know the Jemsek family, she stopped by the kickoff as well and showed this last night on her newscast.

Michael and Jordan will be honored at a dinner this May, the same night LLS will announce the Man and Woman of the Year.  I'll be the MC that night, along with Jim Szoke. Really looking forward to what will be our 3rd year at this event.

Just a thought, but don't you think the Charlotte Bobcats should get involved here? Their owner, the kids' names, Michael… Jordan.  How much fun would that be? 

Moving Up.

One of our big challenges in diabetes care has always been the way Benny's insulin pump connects to his body.  It's called an inset and I've described it as looking like a small nicotine patch, with a bump on top.  Pictures almost always show it in the stomach. Usually in a thin, gorgeous female stomach like this lovely: Very realistic, right? But that's another blog!


There's a 6mm cannula that extends underneath the skin (more on insets and how they work here).  You can't put it near muscle (ouch!) or where there's no body fat (nothing to grab onto).  Benny got his "button" at age 2 1/2. At the time, he was about 30 pounds, so his backside was really our only option for inset real estate. 

Eventually, you need to rotate around the body or the skin can get irritated. Sure enough, after 4 and a half years, we've started getting some bad spots.  Bad news: Benny's been scared to move it. He tells me when he's 10, or a teenager, we can relocate to his stomach. But not now.

As I often do, I turned to Linnet, our diabetes educator, for advice.  She suggested that instead of changing the site to his middle, we just inch it up a bit, onto his lower back. And she suggested we bribe him (although she used the word "incentive." She's good).

It's tough to not want to reward Benny for good diabetes care, but we decided that early on.  You don't get a gold star for brushing your teeth and I'm not going to buy you a pony for checking blood sugar (even though I really, really want to sometimes).  However, this inset-situation just seemed different.  Did he need something to just get him over his fears?  Slade and I talked it over and decided if he was still nervous about moving the site we would offer a reward for doing so.

I was shocked when he not only said he'd try it, but that he was excited about it.  I did the inset change in his sleep – we do about half of them that way now. When he woke up, he didn't notice right away, but was thrilled when he realized what had happened. He talked about it all day! He even said it was a lot more comfortable in the new location. (He also showed all his friends by lifting up his shirt. Since he didn't usually pull his pants down to show where the inset had been, I think they were a little confused. But it was sweet).

It did seem to hurt more coming out, but Benny had no problem letting me put the new site in the same place on his right side. Yes!  No "incentive" needed.

So, do me a favor – don't tell him he missed out on a big reward.  I promise, I'll take him to the Lego store for his next good report card or keeping his room clean or something. For now, I think it's enough for Benny to realize that at seven years old, he's beating back some pretty big-time fears.

So proud of him.