Kyle Crawford is not your typical 15-year-old. He has more life experience than most kids his age. Kyle has Type I diabetes, diagnosed at 13-years-old, but according to him having diabetes is only minor compared to what his younger sister Jena endures every day. Jena, 12, has severe cerebral palsy that requires her to be in a wheelchair, on a tracheostomy and a feeding tube. Kyle helps his mom Lori with caring for Jena who is a regular patient in Dayton Children’s intermediate care unit (IMCU).
“You can just tell Jena and Kyle love each other so much,” says Abby Riedel, nurse practitioner in Dayton Children’s intensive care unit. “Kyle is frequently by Jena’s side when she’s in the hospital, always willing to help his mom. I knew Kyle would be a strong candidate when I nominated him to be an ambassador.”
“I am so proud of Kyle,” smiles Lori. “Kyle is so loving and caring. He, my two daughters and my husband, John, have always helped me care for Jena and I’m so grateful for that.”
In September of 2008, Kyle had the classic symptoms of diabetes – weight loss, excessive thirst, frequent urination and high blood sugar. Lori scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Kyle and was told to go to Dayton Children’s immediately to have some tests run. That same day, Kyle learned he had Type I diabetes, was admitted to the hospital and stayed for three days.
“I didn’t know what diabetes was,” remembers Kyle. ”But the nurses and doctors explained everything to me and walked me through what I needed to start doing to manage my diabetes.”
“Since Kyle has grown up helping me care for Jena, he was very receptive to the instructions he was given by the staff. He understands how important it is to manage his diabetes,” says Lori
Every six months, Kyle sees Paul Breyer, MD, in the endocrinology department to manage his diabetes.
“Kyle is doing a wonderful job managing his illness and he has a wonderful support system from his family,” says Dr. Breyer. “He is a very active too which is a plus.”
Kyle plays basketball, baseball and football at West Liberty high school and is the president of student council, on the honor roll and volunteers with his mom at the Ronald McDonald House.
“Dr Breyer told me that staying active in sports is a good way to help regulate my diabetes and that exercise actually lowers my blood sugar.”
Kyle is required to take four to 5 shots of insulin a day and check his blood sugar multiple times a day.
“It’s routine now. It’s just something that I have to do,” says Kyle. “My coaches understand that and are also aware if I need a break or need to take a shot during practice or a game.”
“Kyle’s school and coaches have been great working with Dayton Children’s nursing staff,” says Lori.
“Our staff does such a great job at educating patients, families and even school nurses. We have the child’s best interest in mind at all times,” says Dr. Breyer.
Kyle appreciates the care he and his sister Jena receive at Dayton Children’s.
“Everyone at Dayton Children’s is very caring. They go above and beyond to make sure we always get what we need.”
Lori says, “I don’t want anyone else to care for my babies.”
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