Emerie’s Emeralds

March 26, 2019

Emerie Hilton, a seventh grader at East Forsyth Middle School, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on February 6, 2015. This year, during their annual participation in the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Walk on April 27, the Hilton family hopes to raise money to continue to educate and support the global diabetes foundation through their team, Emerie’s Emeralds.
Just two months after being diagnosed, Emerie created her team and participated in her first walk for a cure.
According to www2.jdrf.org, JDRF is the only global diabetes foundation with a strategic plan to end type 1 diabetes (T1D). T1D is an autoimmune disease that strikes children and adults suddenly. It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. You cannot prevent it, and there is no cure.
Emerie’s mother, Farrah, who is also the team leader for the walk, explained that they learned Emerie had T1D diabetes after she came down with the flu and lost six pounds in one week.
“She wasn’t the textbook case of T1D,” Farrah said. “She had weight loss, but no other symptoms typically associated with the disease. Two days in the hospital and a crash course in caring for what seemed like a medically fragile child really rocked our world.”
Farrah said it was getting sick that compromised Emerie’s immune system, allowing the symptoms of T1D to present themselves.
“It’s an autoimmune disease and certain things can compromise your immune system and trigger it,” she said.
Since being diagnosed, Emerie has been using an insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor.
“It’s a new Medtronic closed loop pump,” Farrah said. “It talks to itself and self regulates.”
She was matched with Bonnie, a diabetic alert dog, last year, and uses an artificial pancreas.
Farrah said Bonnie started attending school with Emerie in August 2017 and both have been doing great.
“(Bonnie) had her yearbook picture taken and will have it taken again this year,” she said. “She (Bonnie) is starting her own Instagram page, ‘Bonnie’s Blog.’”
Farrah said Bonnie is doing a wonderful job at alerting, sometimes within an hour or more in advance, of a sugar spike or crash.
Even with all of the technology and with the help from Bonnie, Farrah said there are still highs, lows and everything in between, especially as Emerie is going into her teenage years.
“With her age and puberty, it has been much more challenging than when she was first diagnosed because it’s hard to predict. It’s a rollercoaster and constantly changing,” she said.
Farrah said the challenges for Emerie are constant, with round the clock cycle of blood sugar testing and insulin injections to manage the disease.
Farrah said the purpose of the walk is not only to raise money for the JDRF to help find a cure, but also to raise awareness about the disease.
While they are looking for donations, Farrah said anyone is welcome to join their team if they wish to walk.
The walk is being held on Saturday, April 27 at 10 a.m. Registration begins at 9 a.m. The length of the walk is 3.1 miles (5K) and will begin at Pinnacle Financial Partners, 801 North Elm Street in High Point.
Farrah said they have a video available on YouTube where you can learn more about Emerie’s story and the upcoming walk at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4UvFhiPcdg.
“We’re still looking for sponsors to include on the back of the t-shirt and are also still selling t-shirts and looking to grow our team,” Farrah said, adding that they do a tailgate beforehand. “It is a competition for us because there are all kinds of families and businesses there, so it’s a competition for us to have the biggest team or to have the best t-shirt. It’s also a great opportunity for kids who need service hours.”
Farrah noted that they are also selling t-shirts for the event for $10, and for anyone interested in sponsoring Emerie’s Emeralds, Farrah said they will have their business logo printed on the back of the t-shirt. Donations are tax deductible and 100 percent goes to JDRF.
“Last year, we exceeded our goal of $6,000, and our goal this year is $6,100,” she said. “The goal for the JDRF Walk is $170,000.”
To make a donation or to register for the walk, go to their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/emeriesemeralds to find out more information. There is a link to their walk on Facebook, Emeriesemeralds@gmail.com, which is linked to PayPal.

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