Back in 2003, Troy and Joy Thollot’s lives were thrown into chaos when their middle daughter, Danielle, was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at the age of 7. The symptoms she had exhibited prior to diagnosis — extreme nausea, dehydration, and weight loss — had warned Troy and Joy that some thing was wrong, but nothing had prepared them for the financial and personal struggles to come.
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. Just 5 percent of individuals who’ve Diabetes are diagnosed with Type 1, and almost all of these are children. There are no prevention measures for the illness and currently no treatment, though research is ongoing.
“When Danielle obtained the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, it rocked our world. Most individuals don’t realize the effect this lifelong diagnosis has on a young child and in their loved ones,” Joy stocks because she’s asked about the family’s experiences after Morgan, their youngest daughter, was subsequently diagnosed with the disorder one year after Danielle. “With double the financial burden, we were lucky to have the capacity to meet the girl’s medical needs. We felt compelled to figure out a way to improve our own donation to the Helping Hand Program at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes to a fundraising effort helping local children who had insulin and equipment their own families couldn’t manage… and the Diamonds For Diabetes effort was initiated.”
Every year in the Jewelry store’s November Holiday Party, Thollot Jewelers puts up a tree adorned with hundreds of decorations filled with an assortment of jewelry and gems. For a donation of $25, a customer picks an ornament from this tree and opens it to locate anything from a gorgeous bead into a diamond necklace. “The jewellery and gems we give away throughout the effort make it enjoyable for people to contribute, and also turn our general donation to the Helping Hand Fund into a much bigger contribution than we could make on our own,” says Joy. “Last year, with the support of our generous and compassionate clients, we were able to give $20,000. This year we expect to contribute even more.”
The Children’s Diabetes Foundation is committed to helping those who face the challenges and stresses of a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. The Guild in the foundation budgets over $100,000 into the Helping Hand Program each year, providing financial assistance to struggling families. According to Susie Hummell, Guild Program Manager for the Foundation, “with the increasing cost of insurance and the ever-continuing investigations of Type 1 Diabetes it seems that more cash is always needed.” The foundation was operating with Thollot Jewelers ever since the very first Diamonds for Diabetes occasion, also has utilized the funds raised each year to support children with Type 1 Diabetes.
For more information about donating to the Helping Hand Fund in the Children’s Diabetes Foundation, visit https://www.childrensdiabetesfoundation.org/where-do-your-donations-go/.