UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) — She’s only 9, but Autumn Daniel knows her purpose.
She read me part of a letter she wrote when she was 6: “I have T1D. I know finding out you have T1D is really scary at first, but you’re not alone. I’m here with you,” the letter said.
The fourth grader was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 3 years old. Mom Chastidy said Autumn’s school reached out saying she was having to urinate frequently.
“My mom happened to be off that day,” Chastidy said. “She went and picked her up, rushed her over to the pediatrician. When he tested her blood sugar, she was over 400.”
Every kid is slightly different but a safe range for Autumn is between 70 and 150.
“Basically with Type 1, her pancreas just stopped working. It’s not hereditary, it has nothing to do with environmental factors, nothing that she ate, she did nothing incorrectly,” said Chastidy.
She is one of the 1.6 million Americans living with the autoimmune disease according to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
“Type 1 Diabetes is kind of hard, but you’ll get used to it once you have it. I have to carb count everything,” said Autumn.
But born out of her diagnosis came the idea to bring awareness through ‘T1DLooksGoodonMe,’ an organization she started building at age 6.
“It started when a boy on the playground called me contagious cuz I had Type 1 diabetes,” she recalled. “It made me feel scared and embarrassed so I created it so nobody has to feel the way I did.”
Autumn and her mom have designed several clothing and home items to celebrate the strength in those having to manage their blood sugar levels every single day. All proceeds go to serving this community with things like donating to JDRF, sponsoring a kid to go to diabetes camp, and their free “Sweet Life Essential” kits for newly diagnosed families.
The kits include insulin pen needles, syringes, measuring cups and a calculator to help carb count along with helpful recipes, snacks, and a water bottle.
Autumn and her mom then drop off the kits to diabetes camps or newly-diagnosed families can request a kit through social media or their website and they’ll mail them to them.
And when they open it, they will find a letter from a friend. “Don’t be afraid. You got this. Xoxo, Autumn,” she said as she read the end of the letter.
Autumn and her mom are working to host a mobile clinic this summer to test people’s blood sugar levels if they are experiencing symptoms of diabetes. They also hope to hold a “Fun Run” fundraiser later this year.
You can learn more about T1DLooksGoodonMe right here.