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On January 21st, 2015 my wife and I were blessed with the birth of our second son. One small hitch, we were convinced we were going to have a girl to the point that we hadn’t even picked out a boy’s name! We’ve never found out the sex of our children before they arrived, and we just knew that we were going to have a little Grace wearing pink bows. However, when the midwife held up our new bundle of joy, I suddenly realized we’d be trading in the bows and dresses for blue jeans and cowboy boots. Baby Boy Ford was nameless until the next morning, when our nurse said she’d put Grayson as the male form of Grace on the dry-erase board in our room. We talked about it and decided we liked it, our boy would be named, Grayson Zachary Ford.
Gray is three years old now, and has been everything you would want in a son; healthy, smart, imaginative, funny, kind, and just an absolute joy to be around. He is one of four children in our home, being the 2nd youngest, and he mirrors his other siblings in that they light up any room they enter. About a month ago, Gray wasn’t feeling too good. Just normal sick kid stuff, any parent knows what I mean, not acting like himself, tired, showing signs of a stomach bug. When he had been this way for a few days more than expected, my wife and I began to get a little concerned, we said if he wasn’t better by the next day, we would contact a doctor. That next morning, Grayson was having the same symptoms but with very heavy, labored breathing, so we took him to Urgent Care, who sent us to the Elliot Hospital in Manchester. After running some tests they called for a medical transport to Boston. I pray no parent has to follow an ambulance with their child inside, it is not a good feeling.
The paramedics took Gray and my wife, and I followed in my truck. I didn’t really know what was happening, I just knew that my baby boy was in an ambulance going to a larger facility, and that’s never a good thing. Later that night we were given the official diagnosis, our precious little boy has Type 1 Diabetes. He was in a state of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) when we brought him in. Despite no known existence on either side of our families, he was born with this auto-immune disease that can sometimes come with serious, even life-threatening complications. Our lives would never be the same again.
Grayson at Boston Children's Medical Center when he was diagnosed with Tybe 1 Diabetes
The last year has been a whirlwind tour of doctor’s offices, nutritionist meetings, and pharmacy trips. My wife is a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. She is truly amazing for all that she handles on a daily basis. This new twist on life has only made things harder for her, and she’s only gotten stronger! I work two jobs along with running NHgolfer.com and do what I can to help when I’m home, but she is truly deserving of Hero status! Thankfully, because of her efforts, we have been eating healthy at our house for a number of years now. I fully believe this is the single most important thing anyone can do for their health, and it has been a huge help in our transition to being a diabetic family. We don’t have the challenge of cutting out too much from our regular diet, as we already have a good balance in each meal, made with real food, not the processed garbage that is readily available at your local drive-thru. We do however, now have to very closely monitor Grayson’s carb intake, and every label on every food item must be read and analyzed. Each meal must be precisely portioned with every bite taken accounted for and calculated into his medicinal dosage. Gray’s behavior and mood may change suddenly if his blood sugar count varies too rapidly due to food or playful activity. If not corrected in time, health issues can quickly arise. He requires an extra amount of attention and care in order to maintain a normal, healthy lifestyle. You might say life has thrown us a curveball.
My friend Chuck and I will sometimes use that expression. But we’ve added to it….So yeah, life will occasionally throw you a curveball. What do we do with curveballs? Hit ‘em out of the park! That’s the kind of attitude you have to have about any challenge in your life. Attack and conquer! My family is a tight-knit group. We love each other dearly, and we are each other’s favorite people. We don’t have a diabetic son, we are a diabetic family. We have rallied around Grayson and sent that curveball screamin’ for the bleachers!
We had our first annual Play4Gray fundraiser tournament last year, and it was a success as we raised over $1500 for medical bills that our insurance wanted no part of paying. Thank you so very much to all who played, sponsored, and donated. Countless others have helped us through educational support and prayer, and we can not thank you enough!
Our poster from last year's Play4Gray tournament
Our initial round of medical bills is almost paid off, but it had a major impact on our family. Other families will feel this same impact (if not worse) when they get the shock of a lifetime and suddenly learn that their child has Type 1 Diabetes. The emotional, life-changing trauma that is endured is more than some can handle, and at that point, the bills are just a kick in the gut.
NHgolfer.com is going to try to help ease that burden for some of our New Hampshire neighbors. Each year, we will continue to host the Play4Gray fundraiser tournament. We will then be making a donation from the proceeds of our tournament to the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) specifically to help families who have recently had a child diagnosed with T1D. Grayson has been seen at ChaD in Manchester for the past year, and the staff and support have been amazing.
Please stay tuned to NHgolfer.com as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages for news on our 2nd annual Play4Gray fundraiser tournament to be held at the end of the season (Aug/Sept). We will also be setting up a link here on our site if you would like to make a donation.
Thank you again from the very bottom of my heart to all who had a part last year in the Play4Gray tourney. Our journey is far from over, so if you would, please continue to Pray4Gray.
With sincerest gratitude,
US Veteran owned and operated
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Our battle with Diabetes continues however, and Grayson has recently been diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is somewhat common in those with Type 1 Diabetes. Gluten is our newest enemy. But as with every battle, the fight wages on daily, and some days are better than others. Every day is a challenge though.
Grayson is doing well. He has his rough days, and they do get rough, but he takes it like a champ. The resiliency of a child is a marvelous thing. I truly admire him for what he endures.
The helpless feeling that a parent can get dealing with T1D can be overwhelming at times. Switching your family's diet to gluten-free is a large undertaking. But through it all, seeing the effects that this disease has on my son is the most difficult thing I've ever faced. Despite his fortitude and blissfully naive youth about everything, just knowing that T1D alters his life pains my heart beyond belief. And it saddens me further to know that there are so many other families going through the exact same ordeal.
After being on the receiving end of such wonderful support and generosity, the only possible thing to do is to pay it forward.....