When Trisha Bush’s son Gavin was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes almost seven years ago, it was a frightening experience for the family.
Gavin was in the second grade, and he came home from school sick. He had lost a lot of weight, but they hadn’t thought much of it because he had also gotten taller. One weekend in Silverton for a ski trip, Gavin was so tired he couldn’t do much. He was sleeping for 16 hours a day, and Bush, a registered nurse in Montrose, couldn’t find answers.
Doctors thought it could be a respiratory problem. But nebulizer treatments seemed to make things worse, not better.
“I was scared, and I’m a nurse,” Bush said. “I just didn’t have a good feeling. Something’s wrong—something’s very wrong.”
The tipping point came when Gavin woke up one night, around 11 p.m. and couldn’t recognize his mom.
“He looked at me glassy-eyed, and he said, ‘I don’t know your name.’ I asked why and he said, ‘I know who you are, but I don’t know what to call you.’”
She rushed him to the hospital, and he was finally diagnosed correctly, within 5 minutes.
“That started our journey on Feb. 9, 2018,” Bush said.
Gavin spent three days in the ICU and would go to Denver for treatments once a week for the next six weeks.
“I have to say my kid is amazing,” she said. “From day one, he was like, ‘this is what it is and I’ve got to learn to deal with it.’ He’s resilient and strong.”
Organizing a walk
Today, Gavin Buchanan, 14, is living life with type 1 diabetes, and his mom is in her third year of raising money and spreading awareness for juvenile diabetes by organizing walks.
The next Western Slope Juvenile Diabetes Research (JDRF) One Walk will take place at 10 a.m. Nov. 4.
The last two years, the walk has taken place in Delta in hopes of drawing participants from Grand Junction. This year, the walk will take place in Montrose for the first time, at Cerise Park.
“We really didn’t have a huge turnout from Grand Junction,” Bush said. “And most of our sponsors are in Montrose. So we moved it here.”
Her main focus is on getting more participants this year. She is asking those who would like to participate to make teams and sign up in advance.
“The goal is to enjoy this community that morning after summer and when fall is here,” Bush said.
Her hope is that the donations and sponsorships will come along with those participants.
In their first year, the Western Slope JDRF One Walk raised around $6,000. Last year, that number increased to $11,000. Bush’s goal for 2023 is $20,000.
Those who would like to get involved should visit tinyurl.com/WestSlopeJDRF to sign up, donate or become a sponsor.
JDRF is the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Their vision is a world without type 1 diabetes, and their mission is Improving lives by accelerating life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.
Bush wants people to understand type 1 diabetes and that, unlike type 2 diabetes, you can’t prevent it.
“It has nothing to do with diet or lifestyle. There is nothing you can do to prevent it. And, at present, there is no cure,” according to JDRF’s website. The organization was founded by parents determined to find a cure for their children with T1D, JDRF expanded through grassroots fundraising and advocacy efforts to become a powerhouse in the scientific community with dozens of U.S. locations and five international affiliates.