Sam Dellacecca--Brainerd, MN Step Out to Fight Diabetes
Slim and athletic, Sam juggles multiple activities including tennis, swimming, and playing several musical instruments. He defies the stereotype that many have about diabetes—that it only occurs in people who are overweight.
"His diagnosis was really shocking," said his mother, Kathe Dellacecca. "Not only to us, but to many of our friends."
When he was diagnosed with type 1 in August 2006, Sam and his family knew little about the disease. Their only knowledge stemmed from Kathe's father, who was diagnosed with type 2 ten years ago. Slowly, they adjusted to life with a dependency on insulin and daily injections.
"I can't really eat as much as I used to," said Sam, "and I have to remember to take my shots and test my blood."
When Sam was diagnosed, he spent three nights at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd, Minnesota. Hospital staff educated the overwhelmed family about diabetes and connected them to the American Diabetes Association.
"I immediately went online [to diabetes.org] to find resources and information," said Kathe.
Kathe was also intrigued by the walk event in the Brainerd area. She had heard of the event several times before, but now she felt compelled to sign up.
Soon, Kathe and her husband Ross had organized "Neighbors Up North"—a team named after Ross's business—to walk in the fall 2006 event. They were joined by Sam's grandparents and family friends.
A year later, Sam and his family are gearing up for the 2007 Step Out to Fight Diabetes event. Sam, now 13 and in the eighth grade, excels both in academics and athletics. A state championship swimmer, he has been invited to join the high school varsity team.
"Neighbors Up North" looks forward to participating in many Step Out events to come, and to growing their team each year. Right now, they're just hoping for nice weather on walk day.
"In Minnesota, it could be a beautiful, sunny day like last year," said Kathe. "Or it could be snowing! Either way, we'll be there."
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