Lion Angie's niece Rilynn was four years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. One Wednesday, she was running a fever and had a rash all over her body, and she said she had a sore throat. The doctor wasn’t sure what it was but said her body was fighting a virus. 

Five days later Rilynn had lost 5 pounds, her lips were bloody, and her skin was grey. Her eyes were sunk in and dark, she was lethargic and thirsty. She was taken to the pediatric walk-in clinic and her mom asked for Rilynn to be checked for diabetes and leukemia. 

The results showed her A1C (a blood test that measures average blood sugar levels during the previous 3 months) was so high that it wasn’t registering, and the doctor told them to go directly to the hospital because they’d arrive faster than the ambulance. The hospital had a room ready, and a doctor waiting, when Rilynn arrived. Her blood sugar on arrival at the hospital was 1,078.

For the next 27 hours Rilynn was in the hospital hooked to IVs running an insulin drip and fluids to bring her blood sugar down. Her family was told if she had not arrived for hospital care when she did, she would have died.

Today, Rilynn is seven and an active 1st grader. She carries her diabetic supplies in a fanny pack that she calls her “pancreas”. For Christmas she asked Santa for a diabetes blue dress because she is proud to be a “blood sugar battler” and wants others to know of her story.

Angie, a Lion and trustee with Minnesota Lions Diabetes Foundation, is active in promoting awareness about diabetes, offering education and supporting research leading to new treatments and a cure for diabetes.