Boy, 9, helps raise money to fight disease plaguing him community focus ahwatukee.com type 1 diabetes autoimmune disease

The family, along with relatives, friends and co-workers, are participating in their first JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) One Walk, Saturday, April 28 at Mesa’s Sloan Park, 2330 West Rio Salado Parkway. Registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 9 a.m.

“If his numbers go up too high, he can end up in diabetic ketoacidosis, and that can be fatal. If he’s too low, he can end up in a coma. It’s nothing like type 2 diabetes because type 1 is an autoimmune disease that anyone can get any time. It’s not from eating too much sugar and has nothing to do with diet. In fact, he’s eating more sugar now to keep his numbers up.”

“It was a couple weeks after his 9th birthday,” Cicchillo recalled. “I hugged him and could tell he’d lost weight – about 10 pounds in one week.


He’d fall asleep at 7 at night, and this is a 9-year-old boy! He’d tell me over and over, ‘Mom, I’m thirsty!’ and then, when we returned home after my daughter’s softball game, he was almost incoherent.”

“Promoting self-care is a skill we foster at school, and Zachary has certainly stepped up to the challenge. He’s a resilient young man who has adapted to his disease with a great deal of independence,” said Fitzpatrick, a 16-year Ahwatukee resident.

“Cameron is another example of a student who doesn’t allow his disease to interfere with his personality or enthusiasm as a young student. Caring for these two students is the best part of my day – to see them grow and thrive like any other child is phenomenal.”

“She watches it while he’s at school and I’m at work, and I watch it all other times. It’s about $800 every few months to keep it up, but it’s literally a lifesaver. I finally started to only wake up a couple times a night. I’m still not sure when I will ever sleep peacefully again.”

“I’m not looking forward to the summer, as not only will I miss the support I get from my co-workers and Laura – who‘d like to take with me for the summer – but also the paycheck as the insulin, test strips, and continuous monitor sensors cost about $300 a month. But what parent wouldn’t pay anything to keep their kid alive?” queried Cicchillo.

“I just want to tell everyone about these kids and their fight. It’s not easy, but the only choice we have is to keep fighting,” she said. “It is getting easier, but with the death of Alex (DePriest), the reality of this terrible disease hits way too close to home.”

“My son can’t eat anything without counting carbs and doing a calculation to find out how many units of insulin he needs. We can never take a day or even one meal off. Every time he puts something in his mouth, he has to get a shot. It can be very depressing.”

“If you met us at the park, you’d never know how many times I check his blood sugar or how many times I have to save his life with a juice box. I just look like an over protective helicopter mom but the reality is he’s 9 and his disease has no cure. At least, not yet. That’s what this JDRF One Walk is all about.”

“This JDRF walk will be our first walk and the first time I’m trying to get the word out, but sometimes it feels like no one is listening, no one thinks it’s a big deal, but to Zach, me and our family, it’s something we think about 24/7 – in the middle of the night, while at school, at the park or at the ballfield while he’s playing.