Most of you know Rachel. She grew up here in the shop, first in a playpen and then behind the counter. She's 18 now. Last year she graduated from North Hall High School and now she's a Zell Miller Scholar in the Honors Program at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.
She works part-time, keeping the nursery at Dahlonega Presbyterian Church and helping out here at N2N when she's home. In the summer, she's a counselor at Camp Coleman near Cleveland.
She writes poetry, she practices yoga, she plays the ukulele (you all remember this, right?), she hikes, she knits. She's a busy, busy girl.
She made a stellar adjustment to college, plunging into dorm life, starting an interfaith alliance to encourage kids of different faiths to come together and learn from one another, serving on the Honors Program board.
Then the symptoms began. Extreme thirst. Endless trips to the bathroom. Stubborn infections that wouldn't go away. Unexplained fatigue. An appetite that rivaled that of a sumo wrestler.
Then on January 23rd came the diagnosis: type 1 diabetes.
We were blindsided. There's no history of diabetes on either side of our family. We knew nothing about the disease. I was stunned to hear her doctor refer to her as a "diabetic." Surely not.
But, yes. Something, maybe an infection, caused her pancreas to shut down. She's now insulin-dependant, injecting herself up to four times a day, pricking her fingertips every few hours to monitor her blood sugar levels, changing her eating habits to embrace a low-carbohydrate diet.
Through it all, not once have I heard her whine, grumble or despair about this cruel trick of fate. No, I've been the one doing that. For the first week all I could do was cry. That and read everything I could find on Type 1 Diabetes.
While 25.8 million people in the US (8.3 percent) have diabetes, only 5 percent of those have type 1. It can't be controlled with diet alone and if not managed properly can lead to horrible, even deadly complications.
Rachel's handling this bump in the road the way she does everything- with optimism and determination. Last Saturday, she packed up her snacks and water and insulin and glucose meter and hiked to Preacher's Rock.
So her attitude is positive, the prognosis is good and, with proper care, the future looks as bright as it ever did.
So what's the problem?
My husband, Arthur, and I are both self-employed. For us, health insurance is outrageously expensive and comes with a high deductible. In Rachel's case, it's $3000.
$3000 that we don't have.
That's where you come in.
Our next First Friday Sale is on March 1st. We're turning it into a fundraiser for Rachel. We'll have extended hours and the store wide 50% off sale will continue until we've reached our goal of $3000. We'll be holding raffles and drawings for N2N gift certificates and all sorts of prizes. During this month we'll be selling tickets for $1.00. Please stop in and buy a fistful. It all goes to help Rachel.
What sorts of prizes? We'll be asking our artist, writer, musician and crafty friends to donate some of their works. There will be collectibles and gift certificates for services. Everyone who buys a ticket will win something, I promise.
There will be diabetes education materials, snacks (hopefully low carb), maybe a celebrity appearance or two.
So please, if you've written a book, cut a CD, knitted a scarf, thrown a pot....you get the idea, right?...please, please consider making a donation to this event. Drop it off at N2N or call me and I'll come to you to pick it up. It's not tax deductible but I guarantee the karmic benefits are enormous.
Please pass this on. Tell your friends and ask them to tell theirs. I'm counting on our N2N community to help us take care of this precious child.
And from the depths of a mother's heart, thank you.
*message approved by Lisa Hendrix