Oct. 2, 2006

Benefit set for juvenile diabetes

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

Diabetes is a term that is commonly heard, but for two young Winsted girls who are dealing with juvenile diabetes, it’s a term that is all too familiar in their lives.

In fact, Ashley Hoese and Nikki Rischmiller, both 10 years old, are both dealing with type 1 juvenile diabetes, and have been since they were three and four years old.

The symptoms were the same for the two girls. Their parents noticed excessive thirst, and very frequent trips to the bathroom. The girls could drink a big glass of milk or juice and still be thirsty.

Ashley Hoese’s mother, Anita Hoese, described that Ashley has to get poked six times per day to check her blood sugar levels. This includes at least one time in the middle of the night. Luckily for Ashley, she usually sleeps through it.

However, if her levels are low, Hoese says, Ashley must be awakened, given juice, and re-checked about one or two hours later.

Ashley receives insulin shots three or four times daily. She must be on a regular eating schedule, and has to count the number of carbohydrates she eats or drinks.

Ashley has had two seizures that were controlled, luckily, by giving her some juice. However, she did have to go to the emergency room once.

When asked how she feels about having juvenile diabetes, Ashley said, “Every day I ask myself, why me? Why did I have to be diagnosed with diabetes? I tell myself that the reason I have it, is so that I can educate others, and take part by helping raise money so researchers can find a cure.”

Nikki Rischmiller’s mother, Peggy Rischmiller, gave testimony to Nikki’s hurdles. Nikki gets her finger pricked at least seven times per day to test her blood sugar levels. She must also be tested in the middle of the night.

An insulin pump delivers Nikki’s insulin as needed via a silicone tube inserted into Nikki’s leg. The tube has to be changed every other day. For every 15 grams of carbs Nikki ingests, she must receive one unit of insulin.

Rischmiller explained that dealing with Nikki’s diabetes not only affects Nikki’s quality of life, but also everyone around her. Just for Nikki to go to a friend’s house for a sleepover requires precise planning, and a team effort between Nikki’s parents and the friend’s parents.

Nikki also deals with other children that shy away from her because they think than can catch diabetes from Nikki. Of course, this disease is not transmittable, but when the children in Nikki’s class see the nurse come into their classroom a couple times per day to poke her, they see her as different, Rischmiller said.

“I wish we had education in the schools, by a diabetes educator,” said Rischmiller, so that the students could be properly educated about the disease, and wouldn’t fear they could catch it.

When asked how she feels about having juvenile diabetes, Nikki said, “It’s not real fun. It’s not contagious, and you can do anything any other kid can.”

Both families reported that local hospitals do not treat juvenile diabetes, and that they must go into the Twin Cities at least every three months for treatment.

Also, there are no support programs in the area for children with juvenile diabetes. Both mothers reported that a support program for these children would be very beneficial.

Children dealing with this disease not only have to go through the physical pain that the testing and insulin injections cause, but they also deal with the emotional issues of feeling different, and of not being able to enjoy simple things, like treats, with the other children in class.

Both families have been involved with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation fundraiser since their children were diagnosed. Both families have already benefited from many new things that have been invented through funding of the foundation.

Rischmiller said, “It’s amazing what they’ve come up with,” in just the last seven years.

Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Fundraiser

Saturday, Oct. 7 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Blue Note, Winsted, in the pine room. Home party demonstrators will be at the event.

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