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“It’s not a sweet subject”, DFM offers support

The Fourth of July started out just like any other day for Hayden. But by the end of the day, her mother, Christy Tucker, began noticing that something wasn’t right with her typical, very active seven-year-old daughter. In between fireworks and watermelon, Hayden was experiencing fatigue, excessive thirst and frequent urination.

So, Tucker began doing what any other mother would doe, she picked up the phone and called Hayden’s primary care doctor to schedule an appointment. One week later, after the doctor’s appointment and visit with the local hospital’s team of endocrinologists and dietitians, Hayden was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Yet, in spite of the fact that both Tucker and her daughter’s lives were turned upside down all within a matter of days, Tucker said that her daughter, thanks to the help and support of the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi and many others, is handling her new diagnosis with resilience, courage and optimism.

“She’s been a real trooper,” Tucker said. “She’s doing great.” And the DFM has been present every step of the way, she said.

Tucker was given contact information for the DFM at the hospital with the advice to seek the expertise and help of the organization.

Coupled with the DFM’s support and educational resources, Hayden’s sunny spirit ha kept her bouncing back from the finger pricks and shots and the reality of the disease that up until a few weeks ago, she didn’t know existed, Tucker said.

The child receives special snacks, which causes a bit of envy among her friends, and the DFM gave her a packet of educational supplies along with a t-shirt, Tucker added.

“Hayden keeps saying, ‘This is my T-shirt for having diabetes,’” she said laughing. Of course learning to live with the disease is an experience, but she’s as bubbly as ever.

Aside from the testing supplies and educational materials provided to the family, the DFM also implemented the free “It’s Not a Sweet Subject” program in Hayden’s school, where it met with great reception, she said.

“It’s an optional program, and it was great to see that probably more than two-thirds of the school’s teachers, including those not in contact with Hayden, were interested in learning more about diabetes and how to reach students with the disease,” Tucker said. “They seemed better prepared and more comfortable, they got a lot from the program.”

Peggy Murphy is a school nurse who has worked with the program for two years. During this time DFM has educated staff and parents to prevent potential emergency situations, provided each school with a special diabetes kit which includes all the materials needed for students. Each newly-diagnosed student receives an educational kit just like Hayden Tucker along with the opportunity to go to a special camp. At camp the children are surrounded by people their own age who are going through the same things that they are.

The DFM is the state’s only nonprofit health organization that provides diabetes research, information, patient services and advocacy, and its mission is to provide hope through research, programs and service to the 346,500 Mississippians with diabetes. Every dollar raised by the DFM stays in the state to support these efforts. Likewise, 90 cents of every dollar raised goes towards the organization’s charitable services dedicated to all Mississippians from children to senior adults who live with diabetes.

Contact Jenny Logan at 601-957-7878 or visit their website at www.msdiabetes.org to implement the “It’s Not a Sweet Subject” program in your school.