Wednesday, August 09, 2000

David, 4, has wish: A cure for diabetes

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — Four-year-old David Flack asks God for the same thing every night when he prays.

[photo] Cheryl Flack and her son, David.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
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        “Dear God, please let there be a cure for diabetes. Amen.”

        But David and his family are not relying solely on divine intervention.

        The Independence family is asking local grocers, drug stores and friends and family to make donations to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation International's Walk to Cure Diabetes, which will take place Sept. 23 in Newport.

        David has juvenile diabetes. He gets insulin shots three times a day and submits to blood sugar tests at least 10 times a day. He will participate in the walk.

        “We think he's an angel,” said Cheryl Flack of her son.

        “He's just like any other child who likes to play and do kid stuff. But he goes through a lot with this disease.”

        More than 16 million people in the United States have diabetes, a debilitating disease that affects every organ system because the pancreas cannot produce insulin.

        The United States spends more than $100 billion annually in diabetes-related health costs, according to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, a group founded in the 1970s by parents of children with the disease.

        The Flack family did not raise money last year, but two years ago family members raised more than $7,000 for the diabetes walk using the same fund-raising strategies. David will be walking this year with his family, which is setting a modest goal of $3,000.

To make a donation to the diabetes walk in David's name, send a check payable to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation to: The Flack Family, 790 Jimae Ave., Independence, KY 41051.
        David's young life has been ruled by the clock since he was diagnosed at 19 months old.

        Three times a day, before his scheduled meal times, David must take a shot of insulin. (He isn't scared of the shots, David says, “but I say ouch.”)

        At least 10 times a day, his blood sugar must be checked. If it's too high, David's body is starving for more insulin. His face gets red, he feels thirsty, and he could get dehydrated. If it's too low, his body has too much insulin. He feels shaky and weak, as if he had skipped a couple of meals. He could have a seizure and, in the worst-case scenario, suffer brain damage.

        On some nights when his blood sugar is lower than normal, his mother checks David's blood-sugar levels every two hours. That happens about twice a week.

        His father, Ron, also has type 1 diabetes. The family has decided not to have more children after learning that type 1 diabetes is hereditary.

        David is like any other kid. His favorite band is the Backstreet Boys, he loves the crocodile hunter on the Animal Planet cable channel, he's already got three ex-girlfriends (that he can think of), and he loves dinosaurs.

        And David holds onto hope.

        “Do you think when you are a Backstreet Boy there will be a cure for diabetes?” his mother asks him.

        “I guess,” David says.

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