I arrived at school to pick Rachel up for an appointment. I forgot to tell her that morning and forgot to send a note to school, so I arrived at the school office and asked that they call down to the classroom. “Have Rachel grab her stuff and meet her Mom who is picking her up in the front lobby.” I thought nothing of this — until I saw my girl, flying down the hallway, coat ½ on, backpack partially unzipped and spilling its contents…and the tears.
“Is he okay? What happened? What hospital is he in?” she shouted from about 8 school rooms down.
My heart sank. Rachel thought I was picking her up because something happened to her brother, who has type 1 diabetes. I ran to meet her, hugging her tight in that hallway, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s not Frankie—YOU have a doctor’s appointment. I forgot to tell you this morning before school.”
This is why I say both of my children have diabetes. One physically has it, the other emotionally has it—and both ‘types’ –Frankie: type 1 (diabetes) and Rachel: Type S (sibling of a child with diabetes)—are difficult to grow up dealing with.
Rachel asked her teacher if she could do a presentation to her class about diabetes—not for a grade—just to help people understand it. She ROCKED it! Answering some tough questions including- “Can your brother die from it?” She has created window displays and put them in libraries and store fronts. She has met with Senators and Assembly members about diabetes laws and funding. Rachel has walked, biked, and marched in the name of diabetes awareness.
Rachel has missed sporting events, clarinet lessons, and outings with her friends due to diabetes. Rachel many times takes a back seat…and never complains. Rachel is Frankie’s cheerleader, juice box runner, smack in the head when he needs one–#1 supporter. The song “Wind Beneath My Wings” is Rachel.
Through it all, these years with diabetes, her grades are steady and strong; she works hard, plays hard, and strives to make a difference for a brother she loves and families who have a loved one diagnosed with diabetes.
Rachel, The Unsung HERO!