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A Mother’s Day Tribute: Joanne Cunha’s Proud Mommy Moment

A proud mom shares how her young daughter has handled diabetes

Laura KolodjeskiLaura Kolodjeski

For any mother, or parent for that matter, there are plenty of moments that make you proud. When they’re little, it’s likely their first smile, first steps, first words, and potty training. And while the proud moments change as they get older, the feeling most certainly stays the same.

But sometimes those moments that make a parent proud may be different for the mother of a child with type 1 diabetes. In the fourth post of our Mother’s Day tributes (read Wendy’s, Jacquie’s and Kerri’s posts from earlier this week), Death of a Pancreas blogger Joanne Cunha talks about a couple of her proudest mommy moments.

Death of a Pancreas blogger, Joanne Cunha, and her daughter Elise
Death of a Pancreas blogger, Joanne Cunha, and her daughter Elise

When I first received this question, I so desperately wanted my answer to not have anything to do with diabetes. The problem is, when your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at such a young age, diabetes is tied to almost every aspect of her life. Sure, I let out squeals of delight the first time she rolled over and relished the sound of her first word, but those moments are true of almost any mom.

It didn’t matter, because I knew the answer right away. Maybe because she’s never known any different, but the beauty and grace with which my daughter handles her disease blows me away. Especially when I consider she’s only 4 years old.

She is my little advocate, telling anyone who wants to listen all about type 1 diabetes. The other day over breakfast, she was telling her brother about her pancreas and the reason she has to count carbs and take insulin. She regularly demonstrates her ability to check her own blood sugar to anyone who will watch, and loves to show off when she does a pod change.

My proudest moment as a Mom came when I realized that Elise is not ashamed one little bit about having diabetes. Not that she should be, but I can understand the desire to hide anything that makes you feel different from others. Not my daughter; she shows it off loud and proud, spreading awareness wherever she goes. Maybe she won’t always be this way, but for now she is proud of who she is, and that makes me one proud Mama.

Elise Cunha, a child living with diabetes
Elise Cunha, daughter of Joanne Cunha, prepares to attend the JDRF Gala in Dallas

How special is that? When a child of that age demonstrates ownership and walks with her head held high… well, that is something to be proud of for sure! What an amazing young advocate Joanne has on her hands! But we’re not done. Stay tuned for another Mother’s Day tribute story tomorrow.

All the best,

Laura K.

Disclosure: Joanne Cunha received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.

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