A young girl from Independence had her 8th birthday party Friday and didn’t ask for any presents.
She didn’t request dolls, clothes or jewelry, but just an $8 donation toward diabetes research from each of the guests who attended.
Eight-year-old Izzi Cobb has type 1 diabetes-previously referred to as juvenile diabetes-and hopes that a cure will be found within her lifetime for her rarer form of the metabolic disease. Izzi was diagnosed by doctors at age 3 after her parents realized she was constantly thirsty, urinating frequently and always fatigued.
According to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, T1D is a type of diabetes where the body’s pancreas produces little to no insulin, a hormone needed to allow food or sugar (glucose) to enter cells in order to produce energy. T1D is different to the more commonly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes, where the body still produces insulin, but is unable to use it effectively for metabolism. So far there is no cure for T1D.
Of the total number of diabetics in the U.S., 5 percent are T1D, says Izzi’s mother, Sissy Cobb.
“It’s like a drunk or flu-like feeling,” says Izzi’s father, Jordan Cobb, when experiencing an insulin withdrawal. “There are long-term effects in your extremeties, blurry vision, incredibly tired and it takes a toll on your liver.”
Jordan was diagnosed with T1D as a child as well. Although both parents said that doctors told them T1D is not inherited, JDRF writes that researchers are still determing whether it is carried over to children or not.
“One in 400-500 people in the general population develops T1D,” writes JDRF. “...only 10 percent of individuals who are diagnosed with T1D have a family history of the disease.”
Izzi uses an OmniPod, a wearable insulin pump, that automatically injects insulin for up to three days, says her mother.
“She (Izzi) has to check her glucose levels 4 to 6 times a day,” said Sissy. This includes Izzi visiting her school nurse at least twice a day, she adds.
Besides the coventional finger pricking to determine blood sugar levels, Izzi also uses Dexcom, a continuous glucose monitoring system, that uses sensors for diabetes management.
Despite all of Izzi’s tedious daily routines, her grandmother, Cathy Morrison, says that her granddaughter is optimistic that she will one day be cured of her condition.
“She asked me one day when God is going to cure her diabetes,” Morrison recalled. “I said when He is ready, and hopefully soon.”
Meanwhile, the Cobb Family participates in the annual JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes every October at the Truman Sports Complex in Kansas City. They walk every year to raise funding for the development of an artificial pancreas or other breakthroughs to cure T1D.
And to compensate for the lack of presents upon Izzi’s request during her birthday party this year, the community of Independence chipped in to throw her an extravagent party instead.
“The Pharoah Cinema 4 and AMC Independence Commons 20 donated popcorn and movie tickets for the kids attending, Wal-Mart (Independence Store 1014) provided treats, and a local church offered space to host her birthday,” said Sissy. Plus she adds the Kansas City Chapter of JDRF is providing a balloon artist and a bouncy castle as well.
According to the Cobbs, they discovered the Wal-Mart manager has a child who has T1D, and employees at the Pharoah know others afflicted with the disease.
Izzi says her goal at her birthday was to raise at least $800 for JDRF. But with more than 150 kids and adults in attendance, she certainly exceeded her objective; $1,300 to be exact.
Izzi’s parents say they are “very proud” of her decision to use her birthday as a way to raise money to find a cure for diabetes.
“You are one strong girl to go through all you do and still have a smile on your face,” they write.
If you would like to donate to the Kansas City chapter of JDRF, visit http://kansascity.jdrf.org or call 816-472-7997.