Throughout my own journey I have tried my hardest to remain positive, happy, and strong. I give a lot of credit to my two younger brothers, Cameron and Joey.
Ever since I was little, medical conditions have been a part of my family. When Cameron was born, instantly the doctors knew something was not quite right. After testing, Cameron was diagnosed with a heart condition called Aortic Stenosis. Throughout Cameron’s early childhood he was told he would never be able to play sports and would have to be very careful with any physical activity he was to ever partake in for the rest of his life. This was devastating to my parents. My dad’s dream of his first son being the quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings was now crushed. But as Cameron went for his annual check-ups, something caught the cardiologist by surprise. His heart was performing well. Really well. Cameron’s tight restrictions then lessened to him being able to partake in sports with little cardiac strain. At age 5 Cameron found his passion. My family had belonged to a country club where we spent most of our summer days. Cameron would sit and watch the older kids flip and twist off of the diving boards into the pool for hours. It didn’t take long before Cameron was climbing up that diving board ladder and flipping into the water as well. Now, at age 17, Cameron is not only a Division 1 State Champion diver, but a national champion diver. He took his imperfections and turned them into motivation.
When Joey was born, everything was great. He was the fiery little redhead whose humor shined like no other. When Joey was 8 years old, we knew something was not right. At age 8 Joey was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. After being diagnosed, Joey spent days in the hospital learning how to inject himself with insulin and poke his finger. He learned how it felt when his blood sugar was too high and how it felt when his blood sugar was too low. Day after day our family watched needles become a part of his life. Telling parents their son has a disease with no cure is far from easy. Our family worried about Joey. We wondered how he would deal with something so serious.. something that impacts his life every second of every day. With Diabetes, there is no escape. Joey has proven to us that nothing can stop him. At age 14 Joey is playing football and basketball. He takes care of his diabetes completely independently. Never once has Joey ever complained about poking himself with a needle at least 5 times a day. Never once has Joey complained about waking up in the middle of the night when his body is telling him something is not right. Never once has Joey wished he didn’t have diabetes.
For 19 years I have watched my brothers fight. I have seen them face their troubles head on. I have seen them smile in times of pain. I have seen them embrace their conditions and in return prove everyone wrong. They taught me how to be strong. They taught me how to succeed and live even with a little flaw following close behind.
Between a tumor, a heart condition, and a diabetic, the amount of support and help we have received is immense. As Joey has embraced his diabetes, we have too. Cameron has organized a charity called “Joey Sweets” which raises money for Diabetic Research in hope to find a cure. This is one of our family’s ways of giving back for all the love and support we have received throughout our fights.
I guess you can say, we are fighters.
The Joey Sweets Foundation: http://joeysweets.webs.com