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Name: Zane Alexander
Age: 11, diagnosed with T1D at age 3
Architecture team: Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties & Gelotte Hommas Drivdahl with David Mestl

 

Tell us your T1D story, what happened when you were diagnosed, how you felt?
Zane was 3 years old when he was diagnosed so he doesn’t have any memory of life before it. Zane’s mood changed dramatically in September of 2010, but we figured it was due to him about to turn 3 and we had heard that 3-year-olds were sometimes tough (even though he’s always been such an easy kiddo). Around late November, Zane started to drink a lot- he’d ask for more and more to drink and just cry if I didn’t have anything on hand to give him.  I brought him into the doctor in early December because he was sick and not eating and only drinking. The doctor thought he had strep and explained that is why he was drinking- his throat hurt. Made sense, so we were accepting, About 2 weeks later, his cold was gone, but the drinking was even worse. I emailed his doctor telling her I wanted his blood checked, that I thought he had diabetes. She didn’t argue and put the order in, I brought him to the lab after work that day. His blood sugar was 435 (no DKA thankfully), we were directed to Seattle Children’s immediately. Our lives changed forever that day forward.
 
What are your favorite hobbies/sports/activities?
Zane’s favorite thing to do is to play soccer. He is in his 2nd year of playing year-round premier soccer and is loving it. It’s busy all year, but so much fun to watch him do what he loves and not let diabetes stop him. His idol is Jordan Morris and has had the luxury of meeting him a few times- I love to see Zane look up to someone who has the same desire and passion for the sport and also doesn’t let T1 get in the way.
Zane also likes to draw comics and play Xbox and ride his bike all around the neighborhood.
 
What makes you excited about the opportunity to represent JDRF as a Gingerbread Village Elf?
I’m most excited about seeing how these amazing houses are built and getting to go through the process. I am also excited to show other kids with and without diabetes that you can have fun and do great things even with the disease. I have always liked going to see these houses with my family each year, it would be so fun to be a part of it.
 
What would a cure for T1D mean for you?
It would mean I can like everyone else.  I am tired of dealing with this disease all of the time and tired of low blood sugars sometimes making me sit out and watch instead of participating. Not everything about diabetes is bad though, sometimes when I’m low I get to eat ice cream in bed!

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Name: Grace Pilo
Age: 12, diagnosed with T1D at age 10
Architecture team: 4D with Chef Jay Sardeson

Tell us your T1D story, what happened when you were diagnosed, how you felt?
I was diagnosed with T1D at Christmas time in 2015 when I was 10. My mom noticed a lot of the symptoms since she knew someone whose kid was just diagnosed also. I was losing weight fast, drinking so much water, and not sleeping well, and hungry all the time. We went to my doctor the Friday before Christmas and sure enough, I had high blood sugar over 450. I was really scared. I didn’t know what it meant, I was scared and cried a lot. I just wanted my mom to hold me and tell me it was a bad dream. We had to go home and pack up my some pajamas and stuffed animals and then we went to Seattle Children’s. Even though it was super scary, it was kinda cool because Russel Wilson donated a ton of toys to the kids at Children’s and so I got early Christmas presents! We came home Christmas Eve from the hospital and began our new life as a T1D family.
 
What are your favorite hobbies/sports/activities?

I’ve been dancing for about 9 years now, contemporary ballet is my favorite. I have worked really hard in ballet, especially after diagnosis. I just found out I get to dance en Point this fall, I’m really excited! I pretty much twirl and dance my way everywhere I go. I love going to T1D camp each summer, and I love to swim. I love to read, collect seashells, make crafts, play my guitar or ukulele and I love the Seattle Sounders!
 
What makes you excited about the opportunity to represent JDRF as a Gingerbread Village Elf?
I LOVE Christmas, and I love JDRF. I have gotten to volunteer with JDRF through Beat the Bridge 2018 and I loved every bit of it. I really like sharing my story and inspiring people and helping to educate people around me about Type 1 and how they can help. Plus I love gingerbread houses and candy! My mom and I like to make a gingerbread house at Christmas with my friend and her mom. We love to bake Christmas treats and being part of the gingerbread village would be really cool.
 
What would a cure for T1D mean for you?
Finding a cure for Type 1 Diabetes would mean the world to me. It would mean not having to live with the struggle of taking care of my diabetes every single day, 24/7. A cure would be amazing for so many people, but for me, a cure would mean I could get back to being a kid, and not living with this invisible extra family member.  We could bake goodies, and lick our fingers without having to even think about type 1, or sleep through the night without checking and thinking about all things diabetes.

 
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Name: Natalie Brogan
Age: 11, diagnosed with T1D at age 9
Architecture Team: MG2, Joleen Anderson

Tell us your T1D story, what happened when you were diagnosed, how you felt?
I was diagnosed with T1D when I was 9 and I remember going to my pediatrician’s office, and my blood sugar was so high that meter couldn’t read it. Then, I went to the ER and learned about what I would have to do to stay healthy, and then I went home to my new with life T1D. I felt worried and scared at first because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me.

 
What are your favorite hobbies/sports/activities?
I love to run, and I participate in cross country and track and field at my school. My favorite events in track are the relay, 75-yard dash, and triple jump. I also love to sing and play my ukulele.

 
What makes you excited about the opportunity to represent JDRF as a Gingerbread Village Elf?
I love staying connected with all my friends with T1D, and I love being involved in the community. JDRF is a great place to share my story. It has made me so much more open about living with Type One and this year I was given the amazing opportunity to be an ambassador for Beat the Bridge. I had so much fun sharing my story with everyone at BTB. And being a Gingerbread Village Elf would be a great way for me to keep being able to be representing JDRF, and Type 1 Diabetes.



What would a cure for T1D mean for you?
A cure would mean the world to me because I wouldn’t have to live with T1D anymore. I would be able to do all of the fun things I used to do without living with T1D and having T1D on my mind all of the time. But, the only way we can a cure is with your donations.

 

 

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Name: Nora Milad
Age: 8, diagnosed with T1D at age 7
Architecture team: CallisonRTKL and Hargis with Chef Lee Baldyga

Tell us your T1D story, what happened when you were diagnosed, how you felt?
It was the first day of modern dance, and my mom came in to class to pull me out early, and I didn’t know why. My mom took me to Children’s Hospital, and they put me in a room. They did some tests and said I needed to stay overnight. So, they put an IV in my arm. They said I had type 1 diabetes, but no antibodies.
 
The first night in the hospital I didn’t get much sleep because the nurse kept waking me up to check on my blood sugar. I did not like all the finger pokes!
 
The next day my parents had to go to a class, I stayed until I got bored (it was so much information!) and visitors came and took me to the playground in the hospital, which was very hard to find! When my aunt and little sister tried to find it they got lost – they ended up in a whole other building, which made us all laugh.
 
At first I had to get used to getting a shot of insulin every time I ate something (unless it’s cheese or meat!), which made me feel confused. I got used to it after a few days, though. And now I have an insulin pump, which is really cool because it talks to my sensor. My sensor is always tracking my blood sugar and sending it to my pump every 5 minutes. I have to change the pump site every 3 days and the sensor once a week, which annoys me. But, the technology is pretty cool!
 
 
What are your favorite hobbies/sports/activities?
Reading, building Lego sets, swimming, dancing, playing with my sister and friends.
 
 
What makes you excited about the opportunity to represent JDRF as a Gingerbread Village Elf?
 Designing my own gingerbread house! I love to bake cookies and would love to do things like that to thank the architect team I am matched with. I love Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday!
 
 
What would a cure for T1D mean for you?
I wouldn’t have to change my pump site or sensor anymore. I wouldn’t have to go upstairs to the office at school before lunch every day. It would be nice to not have to wait to eat when I’m hungry to count how many carbohydrates I am going to have!

 
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Name: Olive Tolbert
Age:9, was diagnosed with T1D at age 9
Architecture team:Bailly & Bailly and Chef John Armstrong

Tell us your T1D story, what happened when you were diagnosed, how you felt?
When I was 7, I was feeling really tired and yucky for a couple weeks in the summertime. I didn’t want to play, I just wanted to lie down and read all the time. And I was really hungry too. My mom thought I had a tummy bug or infection and took me to the doctor before we went out of town on a Friday. When they told my mom I had Diabetes, they said I had to go straight to the hospital. I was really nervous. I had to spend days in the hospital learning about insulin, and needles, and finger pokes and carbs.
 
What are your favorite hobbies/sports/activities?
Reading, art, playing Harry Potter world with my friend Anna. I play basketball and soccer.
 
What makes you excited about the opportunity to represent JDRF as a Gingerbread Village Elf?
I’ve been going to see the gingerbread village with my best friend since I was 3 years old. We go every year, even years before I was diagnosed with T1D. I feel so lucky to be helping make the gingerbread village, and I’m so excited to work on Max the Dog for our theme.
 
What would a cure for T1D mean for you?
A LOT! No more pokes. No more pump sites and wires and tubes in me. No more highs and lows. I can just feel normal. 
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