Everyone, meet Veronica. Veronica, meet everyone!
Enjoy this interview with a local mom who has a unique Kause worth fighting for:
Kids’ names and ages: Kathlyn will be 15 in May, Christopher will be 13 in August
Tell us about where you live and what brought you to NWA:
We have lived in Shadow Valley in Rogers for eight years total. We have lived here twice! The first time was to check Walmart off the box (my husband Jeff is in Category Management/Sales).
The second time, we had the opportunity to move anywhere in the country – and we chose to come back. We love NWA – I call it my “bubble of love”. I grew up on the east coast, but I always say, “I’m a southern girl at heart.”
NWA is the perfect small town with everything a big city has to offer. It’s truly a melting pot. I love the fact that most of us are transplants – it brings a lot of diversity. I also feel like neighbors and friends become family here – which I love.
So, COVID-19. How’s family life going? How are you keeping busy?
So far, so good. My kids are old enough that they wake up, fire up their chrome books and power through their day. Luckily, I don’t have to assist with too much math.
I have been impressed with Bentonville Public Schools, time and time again. They did a great job of making the call to stay home early and ensure that the kids were prepared.
My daughter takes dance and my son is a blackbelt in karate. Several nights a week, before the “social distancing”, we were like ships passing in the night. With the shutdown, it’s actually been awesome to have some good, quality family time. We are walking the dog, having family game night…my dining room table is covered in a 1500-piece puzzle!
Tell us about your daughter’s mission:
It’s a labor of love. Thank you for asking. Kat was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes seven years ago. However, she was initially misdiagnosed with a virus. When I questioned the doctor, his response was, “why put her through all that bloodwork? She will be fine!”
I actually bought a blood glucose meter at a local pharmacy and tested her myself. Her fasting blood sugar was 256 (normal is 70-80). When we got to the emergency room, they were in shock – most kids come in at 700 or 800. At 1,000 you can slip into a coma. We were very lucky.
Since then, we’ve made it our mission to share signs and symptoms of diabetes. Last summer, we filed Letters of Incorporation and created our own non-profit called Kat’s Kause, to give us a broader platform. Our goal is to get in front of people in key locations (schools, pharmacies, doctor’s offices) with this very valuable information.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are very different conditions, but at onset, the symptoms are the same. Type 1 is a real punch in the gut, because it requires daily injections of insulin and constant monitoring of blood sugar levels. We believe the earlier it is caught, the easier for all involved.
The CDC recently reported that T1D rose 30% from 2017-2019. BeyondTypeOne shared that 42% of those diagnosed with T1D are in DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis, or super high blood sugar), which can be fatal! It’s on the rise and it continues to be misdiagnosed. We believe that as a society, we are missing the mark when it comes to sharing this valuable information. If we can help save lives or make the lives of newly diagnosed easier and less stressful with our diabetes awareness campaign, we have done our job. We hope to be able to impact many in the future. For more information on Kat’s Kause, please visit www.katskause.org or find us on Facebook @KatsKauseDiabetesAwareness
Once it’s safe to leave the house again, what’s the first thing you’ll do?
Go to the beach! We met several families in Destin, FL almost 10 years ago. It all started with the kids playing in the sand. One of the little girls asked Kat if she would like a snack. Kat said, “you better meet my mom first” – we have been meeting up with these families ever since.
Share a typical pandemic day with us:
My husband is blessed to be able to work from home temporarily. I get up when he does and make him breakfast. I am a horrible cook – but I can make breakfast. This helps keeps us in our routine – otherwise I fear it would feel like one long, never-ending weekend!
The kids do on-line school. My son loves it. He wakes early and powers through school. I get a private trombone concert several days a week. We walk the dog. The kids have done more baking in the last few weeks than ever…it’s dangerous – I’m packing on the lbs. We try not to go out more than once a week for supplies. I’ve been super impressed with how our community has handled everything.
If you could vacation anywhere in the world this summer, where would you go?
Destin, FL…it’s my destiny! I truly believe it’s the most beautiful beach. I have a video of the waves on my phone. It calms me down. As far as I’m concerned, the beach heals my soul and brings me closer to God!
If you could magically learn a new skill, what would it be?
I would love to study Functional Medicine and become a naturopathic guru. When Kat was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I kept thinking, if we can remove the “thorn” her body will heal itself.
I quickly became educated that the body needs insulin to live and her body was no longer able to make it. However, we have done a lot with vitamins, supplements and diet. She is the healthiest T1D I know. I truly believe that there is a sweet spot where eastern and western medicine meet.
What’s something your friends might not know about you?
I was in a soap opera in college. I attended Ithaca College in upstate NY and my major was Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations. After school, I went on to enjoy a career in Promotional Marketing.
Ithaca is a Liberal Arts schools and all through high school, I always dabbled in theater. The Ithaca Theater program was way too intense for me, and not aligned with my major or what I wanted to do after graduation. However, several kids in the School of Communications wrote and directed a student produced college soap. I acted in it. It was a fun way to get my acting fix. We recently all connected via ZOOM and watched several episodes. It was so fun to see everyone after 30 years and catch up.
How do you relax when stress threatens to take over?
I have a big, fat glass of red wine on my back porch! However, the more appropriate answer, especially during the daytime, would be exercise – lol.
Last year I started going to Freeride and doing lunchtime spin class. I used to spin in my 20’s. Now in my 40’s I feel this is so much better on my body than anything else. I love it! I love the music – their instructors are inspirational…it’s like church (the really good kind) meets a rave! When I leave, I feel empowered…not like I’m going to drop dead. I can’t wait to get back once this is all over.
Who do you most admire? Why?
This answer has changed for me over the years, but right now, two people come to mind. The first is Lee Ducat. She is the mom who started JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). Our children have similar diagnosis stories – her doctor told her that her son was “fine” too, but she knew in her heart that something was not right.
She asked her son’s endocrinologist how to find a cure and his response was, “we need money to find a cure.” Her first fundraiser consisted of a cocktail party in her living room in 1970. Since then, JDRF has raised over a billion dollars to support life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications. She is an amazing reminder that a mom on a mission can change the world.
The other person is my daughter Kathlyn. I always say, “when I grow up, I want to be just like Kat!” She is a warrior. Her strength and perseverance, especially at such a young age, have been mind blowing.
It’s been said that T1D forces kids to grow up fast and being in the T1D community, I can assure you, these kids are amazing, strong and responsible. I think what I love the most is that she tackles challenges with her father’s calm, cool demeanor and she is fearless.
Several years ago, she was asked to share her story at the JDRF Run for Roses gala. At age 12 she addressed a room full of 500 people. She has met with our state representatives and gone before Congress to share her story and ask for support.
When she was 8 years old, we were at a doctor’s office for a physical and she mentioned they really should have posters about diabetes. Several years later, we were walking through a Neighborhood Market and she saw a sign in the pharmacy and said, “we really need posters in Walmart,” the seeds for Kat’s Kause were planted. I am in awe of her and her devotion to help other newly diagnosed kids. As big of a deal as T1D is, she does not let it define her – it’s just one of the many things that make her amazing.
What do you most want people to remember about you?
That I was fun, supportive, and a good friend.
One word to sum me up:
My daughter would say, “helicopter”, I prefer “caring”