Donald was diagnosed with Type 1 or juvenile diabetes at just 26 months old – a scary proposition for his parents, Carol and Mike, considering Donald’s grandfather had passed away from diabetes complications just a few years earlier. When her son began showing symptoms of the disease, Carol suspected he should get tested. A routine diaper change a day later and a fateful trip to the emergency department introduced Donald and his parents to Goryeb Children’s Hospital, where his life would be forever changed. Donald became the first toddler to receive insulin pump therapy at Goryeb’s BD Diabetes Center and Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrine Center.
While this first was a key achievement for Goryeb, insulin pump therapy also gave Donald more freedom than if he maintained a regimen of daily injections. Today, Donald is doing well, and enjoying the thing he loves most – playing baseball. Read more about his story and learn how Donald and our team of endocrine experts not only made history at Goryeb Children’s Hospital, but also developed a lasting bond that would one day result in a healthy and confident teenager.
The following was written by Carol Komondy for Goryeb’s 10th anniversary. She describes her son’s condition and her experiences with Goryeb Children’s Hospital:
Please briefly describe your child’s symptoms and what led you to Goryeb Children’s Hospital.
It was a Friday night around dinner time and when changing Don's diaper I became concerned because his stool was black. I called a nurse who insisted I immediately bring him to the emergency room. The day prior, I had called my pediatrician about having him tested for diabetes because he was drinking exorbitant amounts of water and peeing through his diapers. When we arrived at the hospital, I told the nurse what I suspected and she immediately dip-sticked his diaper to test it for glucose. The black stool was just the alarm I needed to bring him in – his blood sugar was 679.
How is your child now, after receiving treatment?
Now, Don is a happy, healthy, extremely athletic 15 year old, who just happens to have diabetes. The endocrine team at Goryeb has helped to make him a confident and well adjusted adolescent with diabetes. Don doesn't let his disease stop him from doing the things he loves most, especially baseball.
What makes Goryeb Children’s Hospital special?
The people are what makes Goryeb so special. You are always made to feel special and are always treated with respect. It's like seeing old friends every three months.
What was your child’s favorite activity while hospitalized at Goryeb Children’s Hospital?
He was too young to really have a favorite activity, but he really enjoyed the donated stuffed toy. In the picture, to Don's left is the doll he picked and still has today!
Did you/do you have a hero from Goryeb Children’s Hospital?
Yes, actually more than one. My husband's hero that dreadful night was Lawrence A. Silverman (MD). My husband, Mike, was an absolute wreck and Dr. Silverman spent over two hours just talking with him and explaining the new changes to the disease. My husband knew it all too well because his father had died from diabetes complications four years earlier. Dr. Silverman explained about how advanced the treatments had become. My hero would be several over the years, but two that really stand out: Frances Melchionne (RN, certified diabetes educator), our first beloved diabetes nurse educator, and most importantly, Harold S. Starkman (MD, director, BD Diabetes Center and Pediatric and Adolescent Endocrine Center), whose faith in us helped change our lives with this disease forever – Donald was the first very young diabetic to be put on an insulin pump by the Goryeb endocrine team.