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Take a walk with Team O'Connor to raise awareness of Juvenile Diabetes

Type I Diabetes, also known as Juvenile Diabetes, is an autoimmune disease that strikes both children and adults suddenly.

It cannot be prevented and there is no cure. The best hope for managing this disease is constantly and consistently monitoring your blood sugar level and relying on injected or infused insulin to stabilize it when it fluctuates.

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Life-long Elkridge residents and high school sweethearts Ashley Merson O’Connor and Chris O’Connor will never forget March 23, 2011.

After two weeks of worrying about why their 15-month-old daughter Lily was wetting more diapers than usual and never seemed to get enough to drink, they found themselves listening to a doctor explaining that Lily had Type I Diabetes and that she would have it the rest of her life.

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Typical signs of Type I diabetes are a sudden on-set of frequent urination, excessive thirst, dry mouth, dry, itchy skin, increased appetite and unexplained weight loss. Ashley and Chris had so many questions as well as spoken and unspoken fears.

Their doctor referred them to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a nonprofit that provides information and resources to families while advocating for advances in managing and better understanding Type I diabetes.

Last year, the O’Connor’s 6-year-old son, Jackson, was also diagnosed with the same autoimmune disease as his sister. While they were understandably upset, they were much more prepared for handling the ups and downs, thanks in large part to the information and support they got from JDRF.

Now comes the great part of this story.

Each and everyone of you can be a part of Team O’Connor by being a walker or a donor to the JDRF One Walk on Sunday, April 27, at Caton Crossing, 1500 South Clinton St., Baltimore. The walkers will check-in and gather at 8 a.m. and begin walking at 9 a.m. sharp. If you cannot make it to the walk, please consider being a donor. Join Team O’Connor by going to 2.jdrf.org.

The Essential Tremors Support Group meets at the Elkridge 50+ Center the first Wednesday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. The purpose of the group is to advocate and support people who are coping with essential tremors. If you have shaky hands, shaky head, shaky voice or trouble with balance, this support group may be helpful to you. Contact TheHelpNet.org for more information. The next meeting is Wednesday, May 1 at 1 p.m.

Maryland Law Day is Wednesday, May 1. The Elkridge 50+ Center will host free legal services for any senior citizen interested in getting their Maryland medical decision-making documents in order. These documents will provide direction to your loved ones and caregivers about your wishes for medical treatment and end-of-life directives. This service will be available from 9 a.m to 1 p.m.

The Free Agent Softball Team is sponsoring a Designer Purse Bingo Saturday, April 27, at the Elkridge Volunteer Fire Department. Doors open at 12 p.m., with the first game starting at 1:30 p.m. King Tut, two special games, raffles and concessions will be available. Presale tickets are $25. Call Morgan at 443-422-4632 for tickets.

Tea at Grace Episcopal Church will be on Saturday, May 4, at 2 p.m. This fun and elegant event will feature delicious scones, tea sandwiches and small bite desserts. The cost is $25 and reservations must be made in advance. Call 410-796-3270 or email GraceElkridge@gmail.com.

St. Augustine School will host its third Gala on Saturday, May 4, from 7 to 11 p.m. The theme this year is Back-Yard Bar-B-Que Bash featuring food from Mission BBQ, a live DJ, a bourbon room, a wine wall, raffles and auctions. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by emailing staug-md.org . Dress is casual and attendees must be 21 or older to come to the gala.

St. Augustine School is for children pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. It focuses on service to others through various groups, programs and activities, including food drives, book collections and showing acts of kindness. These examples are just some of the reasons that St. Augustine is such a special place and is worthy of support at its Gala and throughout the year.

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