About Diabetes Counts Network
As parents of children with type 1 diabetes (T1D), and medical professionals, together we are on a journey to keep T1D in its place. It's not in front of us, running our lives and creating limits for our children and families. And, it's not behind us, ignored, out of control and doing long term damage. We are learning to keep it beside us, managing it daily with better choices than the day before. The “bad diabetes” is the uncontrolled diabetes and with consistent management, a healthy lifestyle, and if we remain teachable, T1D does not keep children and our families from living a great life. We continue to move toward the dreams we have for our children and we continue to believe there will someday be a cure. In the meantime, we share our successes, we tell our stories and we build each other up.
It's what we do as the Diabetes Counts Network.
What Is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 Signs and Symptoms.
The symptoms of T1D can come on quickly and may include:
● Increased thirst
● Frequent urination
● Bedwetting in children who previously didn't wet the bed during the night
● Extreme hunger
● Unintended sudden weight loss
● Irritability and other mood changes
● Abdominal Pain
● Fatigue and weakness
● Itchy Skin/Yeast infections
● Labored and/or rapid breathing
● Fruity odor to breath
● Headaches/Vision Changes
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes. This is a condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to metabolize sugar (glucose) so it can be used by cells to produce energy. Without insulin, the body has too much sugar in the bloodstream which over time causes damage to blood vessels and organs. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children or young adults and there is currently no cure for this disease. This is a disease that affects the entire family and it can be especially difficult when a child is first diagnosed.
T1D is different from the more common Type 2 Diabetes, in which the body has become resistant to insulin. These two diseases are often confused and with T1D, the child or young adult does not get diabetes because he or she ate too much sugar or is obese. Researchers believe that T1D may be caused by genetic factors or an exposure to certain viruses.
Today, with proper treatment and ongoing management, children and young adults can expect to live long and healthy lives. Diabetes Counts is committed to making sure that newly diagnosed families have this perspective and feel the support that our network seeks to provide.
Are You Newly Diagnosed?
Whether you have a child who has been recently diagnosed with T1D or you are a teen who has been recently diagnosed, we have been where you are right now. We are parents of children with T1D and having a few years of T1D under our belts, we want to you to know this:
● While you may not feel like it today, you will learn how to manage this disease.
● Parents, do not beat yourself up about possibly having passed on the genetic factors that caused this disease.
● The dreams you have for your child or yourself can still come true.
● Yes, this road will be tough but it’s doable.
● Take it one day at a time and you’ll become better at managing it every week.
● Learn from others, ask questions and share your story.
● No two days are alike and that’s ok. Keep the long term goal in mind.
● Your child or you can grow up to live a full and flourishing life.
It helps to connect with others who are in the same situation. Diabetes Counts was started for this reason. Together we can take a difficult childhood disease and help shape a strong and healthy life in a young person who can pass that on to the next generation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Diabetes Counts Network a non-profit organization?
Diabetes Counts is privileged to be underwritten by the Community Hospital Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization. With this affiliation, you can give a tax deductible donation toward the Diabetes Counts mission through the Community Hospital Foundation’s secure site. Click here to donate. Select Diabetes Counts under Donation Type.
How is the donation money used?
The Diabetes Counts Network is governed by a volunteer board of directors and we rely on parent and student volunteers to run our events. We do various fundraising events throughout the year and donations are primarily used to put on free events for Type 1 families and students. We work hard to ensure that the money is used wisely for the best impact and we are accountable to the Community Hospital Foundation Board of Directors in how we manage finances.
Does the money I donate stay local?
Yes. Diabetes Counts is based in Grand Junction, CO and all donations are used to further the mission for families and students with Type 1 diabetes on the Western Slope.
The Facts About Diabetes Counts Network
In 2010 the Turner Family became a part of the T1D family on their daughter’s birthday. After learning everything they needed to learn to care for her, they realized that there needed to be a place where she could meet other T1Ds her age. Type 1 Diabetes (or condition as she likes to call it) is not well known and people who are type 1 often do not want to openly share about their disease. Unless the person is wearing an insulin pump, there are no obvious signs that he/she is diabetic. This can lead to isolation and loneliness, especially with young diabetics. This situation led them to consider other people in their situation and it sparked an idea. In March of 2011 the Turner family decided that since there were no local JDRF, ADA, or other type 1 community groups in the Grand Valley of Colorado, that they would start one. Summer Turner, a stay at home mom, took this vision on as a part time job and began to reach out to the medical professionals in Colorado. She contacted JDRF and was trained as a local mentor. She made connections with local Certified Diabetic Educators, Community Hospital, and the Department of Nursing at Colorado Mesa University where she gained support of professionals who would back her vision. She reached out to other parents and created a council. From there, Diabetes Counts Network was birthed and began serving the young type 1 community in Grand Junction, CO. We have the Turner Family to thank for the vision and foundation of the Diabetes Counts Network. Today we are reaching families across the Western Slope of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and helping to make an impact in the lives of young people with T1D.
Diabetes Counts is a grassroots organization made up of parents of children with T1D and medical professionals enriching the lives of our young type 1 community through fun and educational events, peer support, mentoring and access to information and resources.
Lorraine Call - President, Type 1 Parent
Lorraine works as a learning and development and customer care consultant in the contact center industry. She and her husband James, have lived in Grand Junction, CO for 15 years. Their oldest son was diagnosed with T1D on October 1, 2012 and it has taught Lorraine to have more grace in areas she can’t control.
Janiel Swenson – Vice President, Type 1 Parent
Janiel Swenson, a Western Slope native, was born in Ouray, CO and moved to Grand Junction in 1975. She has worked as a hairstylist/salon owner for 22 years. She is married to Mat and they have one son, Brody. They became type 1 parents in August of 2014 when Brody was diagnosed one month after his 14th birthday. They enjoy many outdoor activities, but their favorite pass time is watching their son play football and participate in track.
Kelly Morse – Treasurer, Type 1 Parent
Kelly is a stay-at-home mom. She and her husband, Andrew, have four children. Their oldest son is 18 and was diagnosed with T1D right before his 3rd birthday. Their youngest son was diagnosed in 2006 when he was 15 months old. They have lived in Grand Junction for 9 years and her husband is a member of the medical community. Kelly has found that while raising two children with T1 has been challenging, it has never stopped their family from achieving their goals and enjoying new adventures.
Robin Levine – Fundraising Director, Type 1 Parent
She has lived in Colorado for nearly 22 years and has been a Realtor for 16 years. She co-manages the 16th office of Cherry Creek Properties, LLC in downtown Grand Junction. Robin has fundraised on behalf of the Barbara Davis Center, The Children’s Hospital, elementary and private schools, and the American Cancer Society. Her youngest daughter was diagnosed at age 11 with T1D in February in 2003. Robin intimately knows that T1D is not only a lifelong challenge for the individual, it is for the family as well.
Chandra Boulden – T1 Family Camp Coordinator, Type 1 Parent
Chandra Boulden is wife to John and an active stay at home mother to three vivacious kids. Her journey with diabetes began in the winter of 2015 when their 11 year old daughter was diagnosed. Their family is quite active in the summertime with biking, hiking, and rafting new adventures while building new memories. Diabetes doesn't stop their fun but reminds them to enjoy each other more intentionally. They are also very thankful to be fighting this disease today with all the advancements, and not 100 years ago!
Terri Thompson – Community Hospital Liaison, Certified Diabetic Educator
Terri Thompson, RN, CDE, has worked with people with diabetes for 10 years. She is also a Certified Pump Trainer for Medtronic, Tandem, Animas, and Omnipod. Her experience in educating people with diabetes motivates her to help strengthen and support families who deal with the daily challenges of T1D.
Sue Chamberlain – Member at Large, Type 1 Parent
Sue is a retired educator and mom to an active daughter T1D. She and her husband Barry have 2 children. They enjoy traveling and spending time in the Colorado outdoors. At no point does T1D hold them back from the activities they love to do.
Dallas Bottineau – Member at Large – Type 1 Parent
Dallas has worked as an LPN for 36 years and loves making crafts. She and her husband Jeff, have 2 sons. While Dallas was familiar with T1D and cared for patient with T1D, before her son was diagnosed. Managing it daily as a mother, Dallas has found that it requires great patience. The Bottineau’s know that T1D has made their family members closer and they appreciate each other more every day.
Jeff Bottineau – Member at Large – Type 1 Parent
Jeff has been married to Dallas for 31 years and is a father of 2 boys, ages 12 and 15. Their family enjoys camping, fishing, traveling and playing games with family and friends. Jeff is lead maintenance personnel at a large medical facility in Grand Junction, CO and continue to be amazed at the advancements in all the medical fields. After their oldest son was diagnosed with T1D two years ago, he has learned that there is no limit to what any person with T1D can do. He is thankful for the advancements that allow his son to function and learn self-care with better ease.