SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A family is tearing down preconceptions about their son’s disease and helping others along the way.
Joseph Pescetti, 5, plays like a little kid with no limitations. But his mother Alicia and father Anthony are always monitoring his health.
“Him jumping on the trampoline, he went low, and it’s just up-and-down rollercoaster all the time,” she said.
DONATE: A Cure For Joseph
She’s talking about his blood sugar. Joseph has Type 1 diabetes. His body doesn’t produce insulin, which is needed to convert sugar and other food into energy.
There were a lot of tears at first when it came to testing Joseph, but he’s gotten used to the finger and toe pricks since his diagnosis in January 2013.
“He understands it’s part of his life, and we do everything on our side to make sure that he can live as normal a life as possible,” Anthony said.
Joseph wears an insulin pump on one arm and a glucose monitor on the other.
The family even has a dog named Hope who can smell Joseph’s blood sugar and alerts when it’s high or low.
“Kids are dying every day because they’re not managed properly,” Alicia said. “So we need a cure because families don’t have the tools that we have to be as successful.”
The couple has become advocates for JDRF, a diabetes research organization. Alicia has been dyeing her hair blue for November, which is Diabetes Awareneess month.
“The more donations I get, the more blue my hair gets,” she said.
One of their main goals is to dispel misconceptions about Type 1 diabeters.
“Everybody associates it with a self-inflicted disease. and, so therefore we don’t get the donations that a lot of other diseases get,” he said.
Type 1 diabetes is different from Type 2 in that it’s not clear why people get it. Type 2 is usually caused by poor health habits and can usually be managed by diet and exercise.
It’s not easy for people like Joseph who require around-the-clock blood-sugar monitoring, and they’re dependent on insulin.
“So even missing insulin for a day can result in disastrous situation for these children,” said Dr. Gnanagurudasan Prakasam, Joseph’s endocrinologist.
The disease affects about 13,000 American children a year.
The couple says they won’t stop spreading the word about Type 1 diabetes until there is a cure.
“I would like to believe that soon he’ll be able to live a normal life without having to check his blood sugars and worry about the complications that come with diabetes,” Alicia said.