Diamonds for Diabetes
In 2003, the Thollot family’s lives were thrown into chaos when their middle daughter, Danielle, was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at the age of 7. The symptoms she had exhibited prior to diagnosis – extreme dehydration, nausea, and weight loss – had warned Troy and Joy that something was wrong, but nothing had prepared them for the financial and personal challenges to come. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that controls blood-sugar levels. Only 5% of people who have Diabetes are diagnosed with Type 1, and nearly all of those are children. There are no prevention measures for the disease and currently no cure, though research is ongoing.
Morgan Thollot places an ornament on the tree at the First Annual Diamonds for Diabetes event.
“When Danielle received the diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, it rocked our world. Most people don’t realize the effect this life-long diagnosis has on a child and on their family,” Joy Thollot shared as she was asked about the family’s experiences. When Morgan, their youngest daughter, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes one year after Danielle, the family was sent into a tailspin for the second time. Danielle had been initially diagnosed, her medical bills totaled in the thousands, even with insurance coverage. Morgan’s diagnosis meant, even more, financial stress. “With double the financial burden of the year before, we were blessed to have the means to meet the girls’ medical needs.” Joy relates. “Even so, we knew that many other families could not afford the necessary insulin and equipment. We felt compelled to figure out a way to turn our own donation to the Helping Hand Program at the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes into a fundraising campaign helping local children with Juvenile Diabetes…and the Diamonds For Diabetes campaign was initiated.”
Every year at the store’s November Holiday Party, Thollot Jewelers puts up a tree decorated with hundreds of ornaments filled with an assortment of jewelry and gems. For a donation of $25, a customer can pick an ornament off the tree and open it to find anything from a beautiful gemstone to a diamond necklace.
The very first Diamonds for Diabetes event was a very surreal experience for the Thollot family as their customers and friends rallied around the fundraiser, showing support for the family and enthusiasm for the cause behind the evening. The event has only become more and more successful each year as more money is raised for the Helping Hand Program. “The jewelry and gems we give away during the campaign make it fun for people to donate and turn our overall donation to the Helping Hand Fund into a much larger contribution than we could make on our own,” says Joy. “Last year, with the help of our generous and compassionate customers, we were able to donate $20,000. This year we hope to contribute even more.”
It is through events like Diamonds for Diabetes, as well as the generosity of those who donate to the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and their Helping Hand Program, that families and children who are victims of Childhood Diabetes are able to afford the care that they deeply need. Thollot Jewelers is excited for the Holiday Party on Saturday, November 18th, and the kickoff of this year’s Diamonds for Diabetes event. Stop by the store this Saturday to participate in a wonderful celebration and a very worthy cause. We look forward to seeing you there!