AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – Local father is raising money for juvenile type 1 diabetes research in honor of his 11-year-old daughter Tristan, who has had type 1 diabetes since age six.
Tristan’s father, Shawn Senuta explains the day he found out his daughter was diagnosed. Shawn says he got a call from the school nurse one day because Tristan had been feeling very sick. Some of the symptoms she showed were acquiring a lot of water, being tired, and having a very high temperature. He immediately then called her doctor and brought her home.
They went to the doctor early morning the next day to get a blood test. At first, Tristan didn’t want to get her finger pricked, so her dad had done the test with her. Her dad’s results came back as type 2 diabetic and Tristan’s results came back as a very bad diabetic. “They told us that her numbers were off the charts and if we had waited a couple more hours, she would have been in a diabetic coma.” Tristan had to be rushed over to another hospital for further testing.
After she had more testing done, they found out she was a type 1 diabetic. However, he expressed how the doctors made them feel better. They were given directions on how to use the shots or a finger prick at home.
Shawn explains what challenges have arisen since Tristan has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
“It’s hard, I continue to get that question from my daughter, ‘daddy why do I have to get diabetes?’You know waking up in the middle of the night sometimes because her alarm goes off, or her sugar drops or goes way too high, you’re afraid to go to sleep.”
Tristan added some of her own personal challenges she has had to overcome. “It’s really hard because you have to take like 4 shots a day, maybe even five if your blood sugars are higher,” she said.
Tristan explains what has been like to have her father and stepmom by her side, including her friends. “A lot of people made me feel better, by just looking at them and saying sorry,” Tristan added.
On September 10, at Geraldines in Chicopee, a kid-friendly event will take place in honor of Tristan called Tristan’s Titans – JDR Benefit.
“Her benefit is to make her for this one day, feel like the princess,” Shawn said.
The name Tristan Titans were created in honor of both Tristan and others fighting through type 1 diabetes. “They are superheroes, she is my superhero,” Shawn said.
The event starts at 12:00 p.m. All proceeds are to go directly to JDRF for diabetes research. Senuta explains how any money donated will benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
The entry fee for the benefit will be $25 per person. Kids under 5 are free. There will be raffles, 50/50, plenty of entertainment, bands posted, belly dancers, clowns, face painters, and more to come.
Their daughter explained what she looks forward to most about the upcoming events. “Seeing people that actually care. It makes me happy to see people come to support me and other people that have this unfortunate disease,” Tristan expressed.