'Bag of hope' provides support for children with diabetes

Sinclair Broadcast Group

When a young child is diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it becomes a huge lifestyle adjustment for the entire family. And when that family is a military family, more stress is added to the equation.

Claire Joffrion, 8, changes the pod that delivers insulin to her body every three days.

"Sometimes when I change my pod and sensor, it really hurts, but sometimes it just feels like a little pinch,” said Claire.

Since being diagnosed with Type 1 just before her third birthday, Claire has gone through a lot.

Melissa and Justin Joffrion have learned to manage Claire’s condition thanks, in part, to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's help.

JDRF gives newly diagnosed children a "bag of hope" that includes a stuffed animal with diabetes, and provides parents with ongoing support. Each chapter also hosts an annual walk to cure diabetes.

"Being in the military, we're often away from families, but this was a great event. So, every year we have a lot of family and friends who fly in wherever we happen to be to participate in the walk,” said Justin Joffrion.

The Joffrions move every few years, which means finding a new doctor, school and school nurse they can trust with Claire's extra needs.

"We're moving this summer. We’re doing research figuring out best choice for Claire,” said Melissa Joffrion.

They've learned ways to navigate the challenges, so Melissa now serves as a mentor for JDRF to help other military families.

As for Claire, she's accepted her type one diabetes and has a message for other kids facing the diagnosis.

"It's not all and all that bad. You get glucose tablets when you're low and don't worry, they taste good."