DEERFIELD, IL — One year ago, Naomi Sharon’s life changed forever. The Deerfield 10-year-old was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes. Through her experience, Sharon is hoping to spread awareness about the chronic condition for other kids and adults alike.
“When I was first diagnosed, I had to take over 10 shots a day — essentially anytime I put food in my mouth,” Sharon told Patch via email. “Luckily, now I have an insulin pump and a meter which make controlling this disease easier, but it’s still a big part of daily life.”
According to her proud father, Nim Sharon, Naomi is on a mission. The South Park Elementary fifth-grader has become a youth ambassador for Type 1 diabetes and is hoping getting the word out about the disease will help find a cure. With this goal in mind, Naomi and her family are throwing a Halloween celebration, “Ghosts, Goblins and Glucose,” at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29, at Brothers’ Field, 344 Old McHenry Road, Long Grove. The party is presented by the Sharon Family and Daniel Serota, MC’d by Jason Merel, with entertainment provided by Burban (the band).
The special celebration will feature live music, spooky drinks, food vendors, wagon rides, silent auction, bags competition and amazing prizes, according to the organizers. It will support JDRF, a nonprofit 501 organization that funds type 1 diabetes research
“Tell your family to wear scary or funny costumes to this spooky night out,” Naomi Sharon said.
To date, Sharon’s JDRF fundraising page has raised $3,420 of a $20,000 goal.
Sharon said that Type 1 diabetes strikes both children and adults suddenly and is unrelated to diet or lifestyle. It requires constant carbohydrate counting, blood-glucose testing, and lifelong dependence on insulin.
“The disease is something I have to battle 24/7, making it one of the most difficult diseases to manage. [Type 1 diabetes] flipped my world upside down as I love sugar and sweets and I can’t eat it the same way I used to,” Sharon said.
Battling diseases and disorders is nothing new for Sharon. When she was 4, she started having multiple seizures every day and was diagnosed with epilepsy. She said she spent a lot of time in the hospital, but is currently seizure free.
Sharon understands that a disease like Type 1 diabetes can be particularly difficult for young people, who may not quite understand what’s going on with their bodies. At the same time, she won’t let the disease prevent her from doing what other kids do, especially her favorite activities.
“I love dancing, and acting, and I refuse to ever let diabetes stop me from being who I am as a person,” Sharon said. “Having [Type 1 diabetes] will be something I have to deal with on the inside, but I wish to not [let it] reflect who I am on the outside. It is very important to educate and advocate so that we can cure the disease.”
Sharon said she is very grateful to her school nurse at South Park, Nora Brennan, who she calls the “best one on Earth.” She also is thankful for her parents, who help her manage the disease.
All proceeds from “Ghosts, Goblins and Glucose” will go toward finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes through JDRF. There will be a Halloween costume contest (scariest, funniest and most creative). Find out more here.
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