Back when Laura was first diagnosed with Diabetes I came here asking for advice on where to find information. Several of you posted various websites to check out and that's just what I did.
Along the way one of the Diabetes sites for kids directed us to another site… the APMA site (American Podiatric Medical Association). This site has its own webpage and then it has another page for kids. While browsing the children's site we ran across various games and information and such and there was a drawing contest page. (I'll post both websites within this post so you can check them out too.)
I printed out the rules of the contest and the blank page that had to be used to draw the picture. They had a different theme for each month to choose from for the contest and Laura chose February since that was the month she was officially diagnosed. She drew her picture, colored it and I filled out the permission slip and we mailed it off.
Around the 15th of March Laura received a letter in the mail along with some notepads and a foot shaped inkpen and the letter said they had received her drawing and that as soon as a winner was chosen that person would be contacted and that eventually it would be posted both on the children's webpage and the regular webpage.
Time went on and none of us here gave it another thought. On April 14th our phone rang and I looked at the caller ID (yes I screen my calls lol) and I didn't recognize the area code so I let the answering machine pick it up. It was a representative from APMA saying that Laura had won the drawing contest and that as a prize she would be receiving a pair of Asics running shoes along with various other small prizes. (WOW). I didn't pick up the phone and just let him leave the entire message on the machine. I didn't call him back because I wanted Laura to hear the message for herself first when she got home from school, and since they are based out of Maryland by the time she got home it was too late in the day to call him back. I called him the following morning and we talked about it all for quite some time and he told me he would send me an email of the links to the various styles of shoes that Laura could chose from. He also told me that there would be something posted on both their websites announcing her as a winner, etc, etc.
When Laura came home from school that day I showed her the shoes she could chose from she chose a pair and I sent an email back to the rep. telling him what size and what style she had chosen.
This representative and I exchanged several emails over the next few days and I had explained to him that Laura had told her teacher about the contest and the teacher in turn had called our local newspaper office and told them what she knew of what Laura had done. In turn, the newspaper contacted me and asked if they could do a story on Laura and the contest and also asked for contact information for the representative I had been in contact with.
This week the rep. sent Laura's original drawing back to us so that it could be part of the picture and article that our newspaper will be running, in addition, he decided that instead of a letter of congratulations they created an Award Certificate in Laura's name and sent it out this past Monday. Once Laura receives the certificate and her shoes the newspaper will take her picture and interview her for the story.
In addition to all of this for Laura the rep. informed me that not only can anyone visit their websites but they have CD-ROM's available to send to her school that explains the children's website and the importance learning about children with diabetes and foot care associated with it. I called the school and explained this to them and they asked for 1 copy for each classroom Pre-K to 6th grade…15 in all, plus 1 for the principal and 1 for the school nurse, 1 for the Superintendent and 1 for the school board as well. When I emailed the rep and asked if 20 copies of the CD-ROM could be sent he asked if that would be enough that they could send more lol I explained we live in a small community and that that would cover everyone at the school plus 1 copy for myself.
The school principal also offered to laminate Laura's drawing so that it wouldn't ever get damaged and they would also laminate the certificate when it arrives free of charge (usually if you ask to school to laminate something there is a fee to cover the cost of using their laminating equipment).
This is the 4th drawing contest Laura has been deemed a winner of in her lifetime, she is a very talented drawer for her age but the others have been bank sponsored contests or such and on a local level. I am in awe of how a 7 year old could win a national contest and of course revel in the fact that it was my daughter!
When Laura was first diagnosed she already had Hypothyroid Disease and shortly after being diagnosed Diabetic she was diagnosed with Addison's Disease as well. She has been to hell and back more than once over the past few months since this all began and each day we encounter new hurdles to overcome but she has for the most part always taken each hurdle in stride and pushed forward with such determination that she amazes me on a daily basis. She (with my help) educated the school on Type 2 Diabetes and what is expected of the school staff to keep her as normal as possible while in the school setting. Recent test results revealed that Laura is actually a double diabetic and she has had to endure insulin injections twice per day along with taking the 18 pills per day for all of her conditions. When all of her medical issues began she had gained an excessive amount of weight going from 55 lbs to 111 lbs. at her heaviest. I am proud to say that as of yesterday she weighs 93.4 lbs losing just over 17 lbs!!!
As impressed as I am in her personal accomplishments I am more impressed that through all of this she was able to change a school districts understanding of what Diabetes means to a child and that it isn't just something that is taken care of at home it is a 24/7 responsibility and NOT just her's to bear alone.
My hopes of this whole contest experience being published in the local paper also makes others in the community aware that Diabetes is real and its right here at their back door and isn't going away. That if Laura's story can touch just one person who reads the paper and makes them think it's a start.
I have always said I hate the fact that my daughter has had to endure so much at such a young age but the lives that she's touched because of her conditions helps me cope with the fact it's my child going through all of this and I no longer ask "Why my child".
Here are the links to the APMA and to the APMA Kid's Zone if you'd like to check them out.
There won't be anything about Laura being chosen on the sites until after she receives everything and we have it published in the paper and copies of her picture and such sent to APMA.
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