In November 2006, Mike and Elaine Fitzgerald began noticing changes in their then 5-year-old daughter Sophie. “She began to lose weight and wanted to drink continuously. I even found her drinking from the bathroom faucet,” Elaine explains. “Being type I diabetic myself, I knew these were clear signs that she may have type I diabetes.” Her parents took Sophie to the pediatrician, who confirmed that her blood sugar levels were extremely high. The pediatrician immediately contacted the Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center at Children’s Hospital of Illinois. The family spent the next few weeks making weekly trips from their hometown of Bloomington to Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. “Dr. Sauder, the nursing staff, dietitians, and a social worker helped us learn how to physically manage Sophie’s care with shots and blood sugar monitoring,” recalls Elaine. “They also taught us how to manage her dietary needs and how to cope with our emotions as well as hers. With their continuous support, what seemed like an overwhelming time slowly melted into our new norm and soon became comfortable for us all.”
Sophie, now a 10-year-old who enjoys dance and basketball, visits the Pediatric Diabetes Resource Center every three months, where she and her family find the continued support they need.