Imagine your 4-year-old boy suddenly losing weight, looking pale, becoming continually thirsty with an increased need to urinate. These are some of the signs and symptoms of the onset of Juvenile diabetes. This is the start of DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis). Left untreated, DKA will lead to severe dehydration, swelling of the brain, coma and even death.
As concerned parents, we scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician immediately, Sam’s pediatrician did a simple blood sugar test and revealed an “off the chart” blood glucose level in addition to ketones in his blood stream. We were instructed to take our Sam to Children’s Medical Center in Dallas for further testing. The next few days were like a wrecking ball. Immediately following his diagnosis, Sam was admitted to Children’s so that the doctors could get his blood glucose under control. This was the first step in surviving DKA. The steps that followed hit us like a wrecking ball. You ever try to give a “shot” to your child while they are screaming and crying looking at you as if to say, “Why are you doing this to me?” We had to learn how to give injections, how to count carbohydrates, react to high and low blood glucose levels, determine insulin dosing as well as learn how to administer a glucagon shot. A glucagon shot comes in a red case and is basically a “break in case of emergency” shot needed in the event Sam went into insulin shock and was unresponsive and unconscious. After several days of intense training and practice we were sent home with our little diabetic boy to start learning how to navigate and manage our new lives.
I think it took close to a year before the shock of it all subsided and we started living our lives again. During Sam’s first year as a diabetic, we were introduced to the JDRF’s (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Walk to Cure Diabetes. We quickly rounded up our friends and family members and organized our first walk team: Sam’s Bionicle Brigade. Sam loved Lego Bionicles and even helped us design the team shirts. Sam got excited to see everyone wanting to support him. Leading up to the event Sam sold Bionicle Brigade t shirts and raised money to support JDRF. We wanted to support JDRF because if this disease was going to be cured, we felt that JDRF would be responsible not to mention they were a well-run organization doing many great things.
The day of the JDRF Walk was a beautiful day and the walk started without incident. Sam’s team started the 3.2 mile walk and everyone talked and walked and had a great time. It was during this walk that two old friends started discussing what more could be done which led to discussions about holding a charity golf tournament. See, one Chris was good at golf and the other Chris was good at everything but golf. It was a perfect partnership. It is amazing how much can be discussed in just over 3 miles of walking, and it certainly helped pass the time. I won’t bore you with details but after several more conversations, the planning started for the 1st Annual Swing to Cure Sam.
The first tournament was a huge success. It sold out and raised a respectable amount of money that was later donated to JDRF at the following Walk. The first tournament concluded, and we knew we had a lot of work to do to pull off the event the following year, so we got started. In early 2011, Sam’s Search 4 a Cure (Sam’s Search) incorporated in the State of Texas, filed for tax-exempt status and obtained their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. The organization and tournament, it’s flagship event, was officially a real thing. The tournaments were very successful, and money was donated back to JDRF. Th momentum kept growing and getting better every year until late 2016, when we had the thought: We can do more! We began to think about how we could IMPACT THE LIVES of local diabetic families in a positive way which led us to the introduction to Jasmine. A sweet, 15-year-old girl who had taken the leap of faith and began paying for a diabetic alert dog. Dexter was trained and already serving Jasmine but there were still some finances that were an obstacle. We found our chance to IMPACT A LIFE. We invited Jasmine and her family to the golf tournament and banquet in 2017 on the premise that we wanted to show her dog off and explain what these incredible service dogs can do. We introduced Jasmine and Dexter to the crowd and quickly presented her with a check to pay off the remainder of the dog. I can tell you personally, the reaction from Jasmine, the players, the sponsors, friends and families was a moment that I personally will never forget.
This moment, I believe, forever changed Sam’s Search. This is when we decided to change our mission to “Impacting Lives, Searching for a Cure”. We developed a community outreach where we began looking for other diabetic families in need. In 2019, we pulled another fast one and invited Brooklyn, another young diabetic. Brooklyn was making handmade organic soaps and other products in order to raise money for her own diabetic alert dog. There is a lot to this story, so we encourage you to read more about Brooklyn and Honey and our other success stories.
In 2020, we will celebrate our 10th annual charity golf tournament. We have some really cool surprises for everyone in attendance and look forward to sharing some announcements about our future plans. The theme this year will be 20N20.