Thursday, September 3, 2009

Don't give up on me! I am super busy with the JDRF Walk on September 26th. I also lost my mammaw this past week. So, I am in a hard time right now.

Please view my letter about the walk and Sam. We would love to have you join us September 26th.

Greetings from Bart and Shannon Millard and Mark and Jade Matlock

We hope you never find yourself writing a letter like we are writing you today. But the reality is the increase of children with type 1 diabetes is growing at an alarming rate. Every 30 seconds someone is diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is also the seventh highest reported leading cause of death. Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without
diabetes of similar age. But look at those smiles, Sam and Skye are living positive healthy lives for now, and they need your help to keep smiling.

This year alone, we have come to know seven children in Hunt County with this debilitating disease. We’d like to ask you for your help to bring an end to what Sam, Skye and these other seven children have to deal with everyday and make sure nobody in your family or circle of friends has to worry about diabetes in their future.

Imagine what it was like when the cure for polio, smallpox, the measles and chicken pox were discovered. For many of our children they will never experience any of these diseases, but diabetes could still take them. We are close to having a cure and as parents we are doing everything we can to keep the researchers doing their job every day to find a cure for Sam and Skye and millions of others. Won’t it be exciting to find a cure and know we were able to play a part? Together we can help make history!

The first three years with this disease was challenging. It altered just about every aspect of our lives including church attendance, because his new schedule and the intricacies of balancing diet and insulin were laborious. During the three transition years we started to find our groove. We had learned our “new normal” lifestyle to a point where we felt confident in leaving the house for more than an hour. We did this for five years. Then in July, we began a new lifestyle once again with a new insulin. It’s been another adjustment. Living with diabetes can be a real drag. It never goes away and with an active child like Sam, it makes it difficult to control his blood sugar.

This summer before our insulin change, we took a family vacation to Colorado. We were so excited to “get away “, but quickly realized that the hardships of diabetes still come along on vacations. There is no “getting away”. Time zone changes, excitement and lack of exercise alter body chemistry and blood sugar. So, with theses obstacles in our way, we were faced with a few challenges. Sam’s blood sugar remained high the entire drive there. This means we had lots of potty stops and some aggressive behavior along with the normal every two-hour stops for snacks and food; all of which are not good for car rides. Our drive that should have taken five hours literally took eleven. We encountered some very frustrating moments. Sam has to eat every two hours, so every time we entered a town at the time he needed to eat, our only option was McDonalds. We could not sit down to eat because we were already four hours off schedule from our other stops. Even if we wanted to eat at a nice sit down restaurant, it never came at the appropriate time. We ate McDonalds a total of twelve times in seven days. Isn’t that horrible! Even the little kids were tired of McDonalds. We were so frustrated that diabetes was controlling our vacation and our food intake.
At the end of July, it was time for the change. We were now gaining some freedom in our lifestyle with this insulin switch. This meant we did not have to eat McDonalds every time we saw one because Sam had to eat right then. Now he could go longer than two hours to eat, he just could not go under two hours between meals and snacks. We thought this would change everything. It did help tremendously. However, I guess we subconsciously thought it was the answer to everything and there would be no more issues. Well, during the first week of school, we realized we were wrong. No matter what type of insulin you are on, you are going to have some down right dirty days. Sam had come home from school and was hungry. He ate some of his free foods and had twenty more minutes before snack number two of his day. When he came to me and I had to tell him he had twenty more minutes, all reason left his body. He fell on the floor kicking, and screaming and yelling at me. There was such anger as the words left his mouth. He screamed, “ You NEVER let me eat. You never give my anything. I AM HUNGRY! I just want a snack. Why can’t you just give me some food? You are so mean!” Now say that in the loudest, most angry tone you can muster up and that was Sam on this particular afternoon. I felt horrible for him, for me, for us. I kept saying, “ Lord, why? Why do I have to have so many battles with my child over food? “ I went to my happy place to protect my emotions and remind myself that this was not my Sam. He kicked and screamed and turned around on the floor for at least thirty minutes before falling asleep. These situations are constant, frustrating and make for a long and hard day for everyone in the family. Once Sam ate, he was back to the Sam we all know and love.

Living with Type 1 is more than just 4-5 shots through out the day and endless finger pricks to draw blood. It makes life frustrating (as if it isn’t frustrating enough.) It affects everyone in the family. It affects our everyday choices, our relationships with others, our schedules, our food choices, our family time, schoolwork, concentration, our relationships with each other and our emotions. However, we are so proud of Sam and his ability to manage his diet, let us know when his blood sugar is low, check himself and accept the responsibility and limits this disease brings with it. But that is a lot for a seven year old to deal with, and he knows it isn’t going to end any time soon unless we find a cure.

We believe in the work and integrity of JDRF, they love our children and they want to find that cure. Will you join us?

For the past few years we’ve joined to form the Sam and Skye Walkers, to walk for a cure to end diabetes. Here is how you can help.

We ask you to help us find a cure by sponsoring or joining us on Saturday, Sept. 26,
2009 at Granite Park at 5800 Granite Parkway, Plano, TX 75024 .The Sam and Skye Walkers raised $45,000 including 110 walkers by our side last year! We need your help to make an even bigger impact this year.

Your contribution might make the difference in the one research laboratory where “the cure” will be achieved!

Please join the Sam and Skye Walkers team and/or donate at Everyone who signs up by September 9th to walk will get a free Sam and Skye Walkers t-shirt to wear the day of the walk!

If you prefer to write a check, make payable to JDRF - send to
The Sam and Skye Walkers, PO BOX 166317, Irving, TX 75016-6317.

Please forward this newsletter to your friends. You can also direct them to for more information. Please ask your organization for a company match for your donation.

Your donation could change the lives of nearly 3 million Americans
and save our kids. Thank you!


Mark and Jade Matlock
Bart and Shannon Millard