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Walk for Diabetes set for Sept. 17 in Gulfport

Bryce Deano poses with a blood drop mascot at a past Gulf Coast Health Educators Diabetes 5K Fun Run in Pass Christian. The diabetes walk will honor Deano’s Long Beach family.
Bryce Deano poses with a blood drop mascot at a past Gulf Coast Health Educators Diabetes 5K Fun Run in Pass Christian. The diabetes walk will honor Deano’s Long Beach family. Deano family

A walk Sept. 17 will serve to raise awareness of diabetes and will honor a Long Beach family that has learned to thrive despite coping with the rare disorder of type 1 diabetes.

The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi will hold Mississippi’s Walk for Diabetes at Jones Park in Gulfport. Registration is at 9 a.m. and the walk will begin at 10 a.m. The event will offer music, children’s activities, a 1-mile fun walk and a 3-mile walk.

DFM offers education to those affected by diabetes and helps them acquire treatments. Their honorees for this year’s event are type 1 diabetes patient Bryce Deano and his parents, Eddie and Elise Deano.

Type 1 diabetes is different and less common than type 2 diabetes. Type 2 (adult onset diabetes) is commonly associated with a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet and accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases, according to DFM. In contrast, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that primarily occurs in children and young adults.

Because less is known about type 1 than type 2, type 1 can be a tough learning process for the parents whose child receives this diagnosis. That was the case three years ago for the Deanos.

Elise took Bryce to the doctor because of vomiting and a lack of energy. He was treated for a stomach virus, but the symptoms remained. Five days later, he was taken for blood and urine work. Emile said the results came back fast.

“Unfortunately, or fortunately, the diagnosis for type 1 diabetes is instantaneous. They knew right away,” Elise said. “It was horrible, obviously. You spend your whole entire life devoted to protecting your child, so when you can’t, it’s very disheartening.”

Bryce was immediately taken to USA Medical Center in Mobile. He was kept for four days, but ultimately the family got reassuring news — the early diagnosis allowed doctors to intercept problems that could have led to worse conditions.

Still, the sudden diagnosis brought with it a whirlwind of new information for the family. For instance, counting carbohydrates for every meal is critical, Elise said, because the same carbohydrates in one food might act faster or slower than the same amount of carbohydrates in a different food.

Irena McClain, DFM associate director, said helping newly diagnosed patients and their families understand the difficulties of dealing with diabetes cuts down on the chances of problems arising.

Additionally, she said, it’s important to let parents know that their child is going to be OK. One way of doing this is introducing them to other parents at Camp Kandu, where the parents and children get to spend time with others in similar situations while attending classes that address medical education and emotional issues. The camp is named to promote a “can do” attitude.

Ultimately, Elise and Eddie vowed that diabetes would not stop Bryce from doing normal activities. Today, Bryce plays ice hockey and attends Coast Episcopal School, where he is active in theater and excels in academics.

“I don’t want him to ever miss anything,” Elise said.

Participants may register for the walk in advance by calling 877-336-2873 or 601-957-7878 or going to www.msdiabetes.org.

There will be incentives for people raising $100 or more. Also, anyone raising $50 will receive a commemorative Marshall Ramsey “Banjo” T-shirt. The minimum donation to walk is $20.

Mississippi’s Walk for Diabetes

To benefit: The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi

Where: Jones Park in Gulfport

Registration: In advance by calling 877-336-2873 or 601-957-7878 or online atwww.msdiabetes.org.

Donations: There will be incentives for raising $100 or more. Anyone raising $50 will receive a commemorative Marshall Ramsey “Banjo” T-shirt. The minimum donation to walk is $20.

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