This Saturday, Jacob and I hosted the 1st Annual Strike Out T1D Softball Tournament, and we were completely blown away by all the excitement and generosity of the participants and spectators.
Our son, Piet(pronounced Pate), was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 21 months old. T1D is a chronic illness, which means he will have it for the rest of his entire life. His immune system attacked the insulin producing cells in his pancreas, leaving his body unable to breakdown carbohydrates.
To combat his body’s inability to produce insulin, we inject insulin into him via shot or an insulin pump. Piet currently has an Omnipod insulin pump, and we input the number of carbs he consumes and his current blood sugar, and it releases the correlating amount of insulin.
Sounds pretty easy, right? WRONG! If Piet’s blood sugar is too high, that’s dangerous. If his blood sugar is too low, that’s scary dangerous. If he runs around a lot, his blood sugar drops. If he has a cold, his blood sugar skyrockets. It is a constant guessing game, with zero consistency or vacations.
Ok, now that the educational portion of this post is complete, we can get into the awesome tournament this weekend!
Seven teams participated, with players traveling from all over Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The tournament started at 9am, when Jacob thanked everyone for coming and explained why this fundraiser was so important for our family. While he spoke, Piet kept his head down on Jacob’s shoulder, too shy to meet eyes with the growing crowd.
But it was his turn to throw out the first pitch. At first, he wouldn’t let go of Jacob, but then heard his Uncle Luke calling from behind home plate. “Piet! I bet you can’t throw that ball the whole way to me. I bet you can’t even reach me!” It worked! His competitive spirit kicked in, and he was all business throwing the softball with all his might. The crowd erupted with cheers, and Piet immediately curled back up in Jacob’s arms.
Now it was time to play ball! The weather was perfect, and games moved effortlessly along. People were not just generously donating money. When a team was short players, others jumped in to play, without hesitation. It was incredible to watch.
Piet wasn’t the only T1D in attendance. Jacob and Kevin met when they played baseball together in college. They have maintained an incredibly close friendship. And because I’m in the business of busting myths, type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, but that term is not used any more, because it misleads people into thinking only children are diagnosed with it, or someday they’ll outgrow it. Kevin was 27 when he was diagnosed with type 1, and this Saturday, he played on Jacob’s team.
At the end of the day, The Wampus Cats took the trophy home. The team largely consisted of baseball players Jacob coached when they were in high school, and we are so proud of them!
We will be collecting donations through the end of the week, and then donating all funds from the tournament to Faustman Labs, and her current pediatric efforts towards finding a cure.
We are still emotional thinking about Saturday. It was such an unforgettable day, seeing all of our friends and family come together, and fight right beside us for a cure to this devastating disease. We want to thank everyone who participated, bought t-shirts, came to watch, and helped with the concession stand. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We love you!