Our #1 for December – Mary Brown Grieger

Mary Smaller

Our #1 for December is our Volunteer of the Year, Mary Brown.  Mary has raised over $65,000 over 10 years for type 1 research by organizing a Walk to Cure Diabetes in Port Clinton and a Poker Run.  Here is her story in her own beautiful words.   Thanks for all you do, Mary!

Ryan was diagnosed at age 6 after I noticed him drinking lots of water, like out of the bathroom sink and getting up thru the night.  I used my mother’s meter (she is type 2) and our family ALL checked our sugars and while ours were normal, Ryan was 350.  He went to the doctor the next day and the day after we were hospitalized in Cleveland, as our family doctor didn’t know anyone in Toledo.

M Brown 2We learned all the needed items in 3 days and sent home with video, books and papers…. to return in 1 week to office….in Cleveland.  By the way, we were pregnant with our daughter and Ryan’s dad and I were the only ones to know that.

T1D became our focus for babysitter, grandparents and school, coaches, and friends.  No one spent time with Ryan unless they watched the video…” now it’s time to learn about diabetes”.  Then met with me or dad.
He managed quite well, and although we made plenty of mistakes.  We made sure to look at our glass as half full instead of half empty.

It was 2 years later when we received a phone call to come to a “kick off” lunch for the first Walk in Toledo 1998.  I had no idea what I was coming to, or what was being asked of me and my family.  Just help us help find a cure....how simple.  Ask everyone, write a letter and collect one dollar at a time.

Diabetes never controlled Ryan, Ryan controls his diabetes.  Even as an adult, he completed college and graduated cum laude and is working in his field of criminal justice.  Diabetes is a challenging disease that can produce great problems.  We continue to work towards a cure, because all the money we have raised in the last 16 years has assisted towards a more “normal” life.  faster monitors, smaller devices, CGM, pumps then improved pumps and one step closer to a cure.  But we can’t stop now.  Our dollars now go farther for a cure, than even 10 years ago.
When working with new families that are diagnosed, I still get teary thinking about how this will impact their whole family life, not to mention the child…actually,,, most importantly the child. It is my passion to provide them an outlet of support, however much they want it and to keep them engaged for a cure.  I know the helpless feeling I felt for more than 2 years, before connecting with JDRF.  If they choose to “dis-engage” that is fine, but we remind them, we are still finding a cure for ALL.
Surprising about me… As a registered nurse, I deal with complications of diabetes way too often…it scares the life out of me and thinking that Ryan has dealt with this diabetes for 18 years now…..I worry about him, but I trust he is doing the best he can and we taught him that very young.  Being responsible is one thing, but dealing with consequences due to “mistakes’ is another.  I did my best to not micro-manage is blood sugars, but to allow him to assist in the decision making for corrections ect.  I knew he would be on his own, and would need to handle things.
Anyone who has met me knows of my passion for finding a cure.  I am excited to tell people 86 cents of every dollar raised goes to find a cure.  Radio/TV/Press  people do not know how their fundraising dollars are used.
I know that we will be the people who find a cure and it’s sooner than you think… and for some….not soon enough.
Talking and educating all people with and without diabetes..my passion..my mission..my hope..and my prayer.
And we know that God listens to our prayers…
One day……

Mary