Manlius There is an abundance of blue lights around the village of Manlius this month, and it’s no coincidence. The lights were put up at the beginning of November, marking Diabetes Awareness Month, and were made possible by the Palladino family. Ever since 10 year old Frankie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age six, his family has banded together to raise awareness about a disease that his mom, Patty Palladino, said carries many misconceptions.
“Many people think diabetes comes from what you eat or drink, and that isn’t true,” she said. “Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that you can’t prevent and type 2 diabetes is from cells in your pancreas that don’t work quite right. Food is not the cause – cells in your pancreas are the cause.”
Life for the Palladinos is quite a bit different today than it was five years ago. For instance, the family has to plan out everything and make sure they have the necessary supplies on hand to ensure that Frankie can do all the things his friends do.
“With type 1 diabetes, you always have to carry a kit, always have to count carbs and make a plan for every single day,” Patty Palladino said. “We can’t just leave the house – we have to make sure we have a GlucaPen, his insulin, something to deliver the insulin with and that he’s in a good range to do what he wants to do. For example, if he’s going to play basketball, he has to test [his blood glucose level] before and after and perhaps have a Gatorade and a protein bar to help get him through that level of activity.”
This is the second year that the Palladinos have “painted the town blue,” but this year, there’s a little extra incentive behind their push for awareness. There is currently a bill in the New York State Assembly, called the Diabetes Care Bill, which, if passed, could allow the parents and primary care physicians of diabetic children in public schools to develop a personalized “medical management plan” for each child. This plan would allow each student to treat their diabetes in their own way, whether it be through self-management of diabetes in the classroom or daily visits to the nurse’s office.