Three years ago this June, Amy Lotz brought her 3-year-old son Jack to see the doctor for what the Reston mother thought was a common cold.
But a few days later, Jack got worse — he was constantly thirsty and going to the bathroom; vomiting, sweaty, lethargic.
A return trip to the doctor revealed Jack had type 1 diabetes, a shock to a family that had no history of the disease. Jack spent three nights in the pediatric intensive care unit that week.
"I'll never forget the look on the doctor's face when he walked into the room. I knew right away it was something serious," Lotz said.
On Tuesday, Jack, now 6, and his family will team up with Foster's Grille in Vienna to raise money for the Walk To Cure Diabetes on May 20 in Leesburg, which benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Ten percent of all dine-in or takeout sales between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. — calculated by receipts patrons drop in the "Team Boovie" box next to the register — will be donated to the JDRF.
About 151,000 people under 20 have Type 1 Diabetes, the CDC says; more than 13,000 young people are diagnosed with the disease each year.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body's immune system begins to destroy pancreatic beta cells, the only cells responsible for producing insulin, which regulates blood sugar, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to that hormone.
For Jack, this means five to six injections of insulin every day, on top of six finger pricks to check his blood sugar.
It's a routine that's become second nature for the Fairfax County Public School kindergartner, but for Lotz and her husband, George "Trip" Lotz, a Vienna native and graduate of James Madison High School, "it is a constant struggle for us to balance his food intake, exercise and insulin to regulate his blood sugar level," and also coordinate monitoring of these elements with his school, Lotz said.
But Jack lives a fairly normal 6-year-old life, Lotz says. He goes to Vienna Presbyterian Church with his family and loves hot dogs, school and baseball — especially the Washington Nationals.
"We like to say that he is just 'extra sweet,'" Lotz said.
Since her son's diagnosis, Lotz has found support in a monthly type 1 support group hosted through the INOVA Diabetes Center, the D.C. chapter of JDRF and the annual walk, which raises thousands each year to support families like her own, Lotz said.
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