Two young swimmers on the Village Green Gators community team, 9-year-old Jack Jones and 7-year-old Asher Boudreaux, were the incentive for this year’s annual team Swim-A-Thon fundraiser.
With both boys dealing daily with Type 1 diabetes, Swim-A-Thon 2017 at the Gators’ pool Wednesday morning, July 19, benefitted Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“They both are very active little boys, just like everybody else on the swim team,” Ashley Jones, Jack’s mother, said. “You just have to pay attention to their blood sugar before, after and during” swimming, pointing out both boys “wear on their arm a continuous glucose monitor, which monitors their blood sugar all the time. It will alarm us if it’s too high or too low.”
However, “That is more challenging when they swim because it doesn’t work when they’re in the water,” Jones added.
But when out of the water, “Ashley and I both have smart watches, their blood sugar comes right to our watches so we can know their blood sugar no matter where they are,” Bridgette Boudreaux, Asher’s mom, said.
Both Jack and Asher wear an insulin pump. “Asher actually wears his pump in the water; his is waterproof,” Boudreaux said. “Jack’s is not waterproof, so he takes his off every time he swims.”
As opposed to Asher’s pump being a severe inconvenience when practicing or competing, “He doesn’t remember where it is,” Boudreaux said. “They get used to it. It just becomes a new normal.
“Sometimes they can fall off if they get wet, but so far we’ve been fine this summer,” she added.
Beyond the pool, Asher “is going to play soccer in the fall,” Boudreaux said. “I think any sport is compatible with Type 1. … It doesn’t slow them down.”
For Jack, “Swimming is his favorite sport, and the breaststroke is his favorite stroke as of this year,” Jones said about Jack’s
second year on the Gators’ team. “I think he loves the community of the team. The team is really fun and very encouraging.
“He also plays flag football — he loves flag football,” Jones
added. “He wears his pump
when he’s playing football; it’s
on a little belt around his waist.”
Jack was diagnosed at age 5. “We were lucky. … He was not sick when he was diagnosed. He was just so thirsty, could not drink enough,” Jones said. “… We knew that that could be a sign.”
For Asher, “This is his first year swimming” with the Gators.
“He’s done really well,” Boudreaux said.
Within the Boudreaux family, Type 1 diabetes is not a new challenge.
“My husband also has Type 1 and he mountain bikes, that’s his favorite sport,” Asher’s mother said of Phillip Boudreaux. “He mountain bikes two or three times a week. He also wears a CGM and has a pump. It tracks his blood sugar.”
When Asher was diagnosed at age 4, “We knew what it was. We caught it really early so he didn’t get very sick at the beginning,” Boudreaux said about knowing the signs. “Most kids that are diagnosed with Type 1 have been misdiagnosed with urinary tract infections or flu.
“The danger of undiagnosed diabetes is you can die,” Asher’s mother added.
Boudreaux and Jones made it a point to pass out a paper listing “Warning signs of Type 1 diabetes:” excessive thirst, frequent
urination, bedwetting or heavy diaper, vision change, headaches, rapid weight loss, increased appetite, irritability, mood changes, fatigue, weakness, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, fruity breath odor and rapid, heavy breathing.
“In Asher we saw excessive
hunger; he would eat more than my husband and I put together and still beg for food,” Boudreaux said.