Utah family pushes awareness as COVID-19 increases risk of diabetes in kids
GEORGE, Utah – It’s been 7 years since we first introduced you to Kycie Terry.
The bubbly, beautiful 5-year-old had everything ahead of her when she came down with what family and doctors thought was the flu in January of 2015.
Instead, they’d come to learn that Kycie had developed Type-1 Diabetes.
Her blood sugar got so high she went into diabetic ketoacidosis and further complications caused her to suffer severe brain trauma.
Doctors told her family she would likely never breathe on her own again and have zero quality of life but Kycie was a fighter. Not only did she learn to breathe on her own, but she also started regaining strength and the ability to move her body on her own.
Kycie’s family shared her progress on social media and gained a large following. Her story inspired people around the world and helped bring awareness to the signs of diabetes.
Countless other children and adults were diagnosed thanks to Kycie’s story.
Kycie eventually left the hospital and returned home to continue her recovery. Unfortunately, she passed away just a few months later.
Her spirit lives on and her legacy continues to save lives as more people learn what to watch for.
“We still, even seven years later, get messages from people who have seen the signs and symptoms from different people posting it,” said Jamie Terry, Kycie’s mom. “Her story is definitely not forgotten.”
The Terry Family teamed up with the non-profit BeyondType1.org to launch a billboard campaign featuring Kycie in Utah. The billboards sit along I-15 and along with a photograph of Kycie and her father, share a striking message. “Kycie should still be alive.”
“As a parent, it’s a hard thing to see that your daughter should still be alive,” said dad Josh Terry. “If Jamie and I knew the signs and symptoms of Type-1 Diabetes we could have recognized it earlier. We would have been more forthcoming in what we were talking to Kycie’s doctor about and that would have helped that physician, that doctor, understand what was going on better, but we didn’t know.”
Kycie’s diabetes symptoms mirrored many other childhood sicknesses. She had a headache, a stomachache, and fatigue.
Extreme thirst, extreme weight loss, a fruity odor on the breath, and frequent urination are also symptoms of Type-1 Diabetes.
Early detection is key to keeping diabetes in check and manageable before serious complications happen.
“If she was diagnosed before DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis),” said Josh, “none of this would have happened.”
A new study from the CDC showed a significant increase in a child’s risk of developing Type-1 or Type-2 Diabetes following a COVID-19 infection.
“Everyone needs to know the signs and symptoms,” Josh Terry, who is a member of the healthcare community, said. “It’s easy to get kind of stuck on one diagnosis and think, ‘Oh well, that’s probably what it is.’
It’s important to consider Type-1 Diabetes, especially right now during cold and flu season and COVID season to understand it could be something more than the flu. It could be something more than a cold. It could be something more than COVID and pay attention.”
The Terry’s hope their daughter’s story and the awareness campaigns they participate in will help spread the knowledge that could have saved Kycie’s life to other parents, grandparents, neighbors, and doctors.
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