Parents, don’t give up on your kids

By Don Rush

You all know I’m a sucker for a good story, especially when it involves parents doing right by their children. (And, “doing right by” does not mean giving their kids everything they want.) So, it will not surprise regular readers that when I overheard an area waitress telling a patron that when she was just a baby, she was diagnosed with diabetes, my super snoop ears went into eavesdropping overdrive. “At the time I was the youngest person in Michigan diagnosed,” she told her customer.

As I listened to their conversation, I learned her parents kept her active despite her condition. When the opportunity presented itself to me I asked if I could interview her and perhaps her parents. Quinn, 21, smiled and said, “Let me ask my dad.”

Within a few weeks, I was able to ask her father, Keith Lancaster, 55 of Swartz Creek about his daughter.

“At 11-months-old Quinn was diagnosed with type one diabetes,” he said, then confirmed what I had over-head at the restaurant, “At the time she was the youngest person in Michigan with Type One diabetes. It seemed in no time Quinn was very cooperative with all the shots and pokes she had to endure every day. Quinn has always been a happy, positive kid. Quinn is a great athlete. She always made the All-Star team in softball. She made it to the state finals three years in a row in varsity tennis at Powers Catholic. She was team captain.”

According to Quinn, her father was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 22, and less than a year after she was diagnosed, her older sister Avery was diagnosed, too. “We had a little club. I never felt different or out of place. My dad has always had a little health kick in his life so we always ate healthy food and played sports. Dad was huge into sports and I played tennis from the time I was three, until I was 18. I actually had a little gift for it.”

Even now, reading over Quinn and Keith’s answers to my questions, I’m amazed. I’m not sure how some parents handle adversity to give their children their best lives and how their actions affect the lives and outlook of their children.

“I remember as a kid having to pause what we were doing when we were playing to check my blood sugar or if I was playing sports, I had to find gaps while playing where I had time to check myself and eat,” Quinn said, then joked. “One thing that always upset me is I couldn’t get a sugar-free Slushie.”

Keith said, it wasn’t always easy. “It was hard at first. You have to always be thinking about it. Analyze everything you’re about to do. Make sure you know what her blood sugar is. Make sure we have all her diabetes supplies. When she was in elementary, before the school year, her mom and I would hold a little class for the staff to educate them on the situation. As Quinn got older and understood her disease, it made it a lot easier. Now Quinn makes her doctors appointments, takes care of her prescriptions and any supplies she needs to order. She’s on top of it.”

To parents who face what he and his wife faced, Keith offered, “Educate yourself as much as possible on your child’s disease. Stay positive. Except your situation. This is who you are, this is what we do. It’s gonna be okay.”

Quinn said, “If I could tell a parent with diabetic children one thing it would be to let them play. Let them do what they want. Diabetes doesn’t hold your kid back, the fear from you does. Though a little low blood sugar can be fixed with a cookie and a juice box – and I wish all problems were fixed that easily. For other kids out there, live. So what, you have diabetes. It’s really not that difficult to live with if you know what you’re doing, which you should if you have a life-long illness. Don’t pity yourself or you’ll just miss out on experiences.”

Now, that is a healthy outlook! Thank you, Quinn and Keith for sharing your story.

* * *

Good afternoon Don,

On behalf of the Orion Township Public Library, I am writing to express our sincere gratitude for the wonderful column you wrote for the April 12, 2023, Lake Orion Review. We were thrilled to see such positive coverage of these important community organizations.

Your column captured the nostalgia and essence of libraries, from the feeling of visiting the library as a kid, to the broad collections and programs they offer their communities, to the histories stored within their walls. It was also enjoyable reading about what library spaces look like today. How they are “places where communities can come together and connect,” a sentiment we here at OTPL and our sister libraries in the area strive to achieve every day.

Once again, thank you for your excellent coverage of libraries in our communities. We look forward to reading more from you and the publications you write for in the future.

Sincerely, James Pugh, Community Relations Specialist, Orion Township Public Library

Thank you, James. Keep reading!

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