800 million reasons to like this Mississippi 8-year-old

Nicky and Bella Nichols
Nicky and Bella Nichols

Sometime in the year 2036 or so, a politician, if the world hasn’t come up with a better way to corral itself, will wind up in the infamous overly heated pool.

Bella Nichols will be an adult by then. And if her upbringing is any indication, she’ll be a handful. And I mean that in the best way.

Her mother is Nicky Nichols. She’s the woman who had the nerve to ask for some elected officials’ help while wading through the morass more commonly known as Medicaid.

One foolish official on the Coast thought a pithy comment about self-reliance would be a salve. It wasn’t.

But it was a teachable moment. And Nicky Nichols learned she could be quite the teacher.

But this isn’t so much about Nicky Nichols as it is about her 8-year-old daughter, Bella, who has type 1 diabetes. For any fledgling Jeffery Guices out there, here’s a primer that could spare you from wondering into a world of hurt.

1. Type 1 is not the patient’s fault.

2. Type 1 is very expensive to treat and could put a hardworking family in a pinch.

It’s more complicated, but that’s enough know-how to keep you safe. It’s kind of like an electric fence. You don’t have to be a journeyman electrician to know not to touch one.

So what can one do besides live by that adage that begins “if you can’t say anything good”?

Send some cash to the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi via the Nichols family. DFM, among other services, helps families deal with the high cost of diabetes.

It is one way Nicky and Bella have chosen to give back. They have resolved the problems that caused Nicky to ask legislators for help.

“Every year, we do the walk for diabetes that is put on by the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi,” she said. “They do walks all over the state. The one in Jackson is next Sunday.

“One of the ways we raise money for that walk is to do an online campaign because we have a lot of friends and family who aren’t in the area. This year (Bella)’s in third grade and she’s a little bit better at writing, reading and everything else.

“So I asked her to sit down and come up with what she wanted to say.”

Turns out, like her mom, Bella had a lot to say. And like her mom, she’s a very optimistic person.

“Sometimes I say I hate having diabetes, but I would not have a lot of my friends if I didn’t have diabetes,” she wrote. “We get to go to Camp Kandu, the most wonderful place in the world. Miss Irena is like a grandmother to me — she’s really sweet and nice and so is Miss Mary.”

She goes on quite a bit about Camp Kandu but concludes “the best part is making new friends.”

She likes DFM a lot, too. Don’t ask her unless you have some time to spend.

Mostly, though, she likes DFM for what it did for her. She wants everyone with diabetes to experience that.

Like I said, she’s an optimist. But she’s a young realist as well.

That’s why when she chose a fundraising goal, she aimed a tad high — $800 million.

“She’s 8,” her mom explained. “I love the great expectations of an 8-year-old.”

All money raised by DFM stays in Mississippi, said Nicky. So even though the Coast walk was earlier this month, it would not hurt to give something in the name of this young lady.

And if there’s an 8-year-old out there thinking of a career in politics, my advice to you begins, “Hell hath no fury.”

Diabetes is a costly disease

A study this year found the cost of insulin has tripled in the past 10 years. But that’s not the only cost to a family dealing with diabetes. They also have to buy:

  • Test strips to monitor blood-sugar levels.
  • Lancets to draw the blood.
  • Alcohol swabs to clean the blood-test and injection sites.
  • Needles/syringes to inject the insulin.
  • A device called glucagon, which administers an emergency drug for diabetics that is similar to EpiPen.
  • For some, a continuous glucose monitor or an insulin pump.

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