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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Diabetes walk personal for Greencastle native

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ryan English sits with a teddy bear. Four-year-old English was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes in March 2009. His mother and Greencastle native, Sara York English, is participating in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for the Cure this weekend.
MARSHALL, Ill. -- For Greencastle native Sara York English, participating in this weekend's Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for the Cure is a very personal undertaking.

In March of 2009 English's son Ryan, now 4, was diagnosed with type 1 juvenile diabetes.

Ryan English and his twin brother Alex were born to English and her husband Scott on Aug. 4, 2006. The twins were six weeks early, but appeared to be in overall good health.

And so it remained for more than two years.

"At the age of 2 and a half, we noticed that Ryan was drinking liquids excessively and was wetting through his diapers at night," English said.

On the advice of a pediatrician, the Englishes decreased the amount of liquids their son took in, but the problems continued.

"(Doctors) told me I was overreacting and it was a phase," English said.

On March 5, 2009, English returned home from a business trip and found her son looking "very sickly, run-down and thin." She called her son's pediatrician, who told her to bring Ryan in the next day to be tested for diabetes.

"Finally," she said. "We had been asking for this for months."

English was unable to get out of work for the appointment, so a family member took Ryan.

"In the middle of the day I got a phone call," English said. "It was the pediatrician's office, and they said Ryan was indeed a diabetic and he was borderline comatose."

Ryan was rushed to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

"I dropped everything," English said.

At Riley, the Englishes were taught how to check their son's blood sugars several times a day.

"He gets four or five insulin shots a day," English said. "One after every meal and one at night, which is a long-acting form of insulin that is supposed to regulate him throughout the day."

It has been over a year since Ryan's diagnosis, and English admitted keeping his disease in check has not been easy.

"It's definitely a balancing act," she said. "It's very unrealistic to try to control a toddler ... what he eats, when he eats, etcetera."

Ryan has tried more than once to circumvent his parents' efforts.

"He's very mischievous, so we have to lock up our food," she said. "He will get into it if we don't, and he can't have anything we don't know about."

Ryan can have a very limited amount of carbohydrates, so his parents give him protein-rich foods like meats and cheeses as between-meal snacks.

"Even sugar-free items come with small amounts of carbs," English said. "At mealtimes he's not limited, but we have to watch the carb intake because that's how we figure out his insulin ratios. It's a combination of blood sugar and food intake, and the numbers are never the same."

English decided this past March -- a year after her son was diagnosed -- that she would walk in the JDRF's biggest fundraiser, its annual Walk to Cure Diabetes.

"We have a team called Ryan's Super Cr3w," she said. "The team is comprised mostly of family members and a few close friends."

The walk will take place Saturday at Military Park in Indianapolis. It will begin at 10:30 a.m.

English was born in Greencastle. She graduated from South Putnam High School in 1995. Many of her immediate family members, including her parents Dawn Crawford and Jack York and grandfather Donald Crawford, still live in Putnam County.

English's father has type 2 diabetes.

"That is different than what Ryan has," English said. "The difference with my father is his pancreas still produces insulin, his body just doesn't know what to do with it. Ryan's pancreas stopped producing insulin altogether."

To donate to Ryan English's JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes team, go to walk.jdrf.org, enter Indiana as the state and Sara English as the walker name.

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