DOBSON — A Surry Central High School senior has turned her juvenile diabetes into an asset to offer hope for others suffering from the disease.
Jordan Fulk chose to organize a benefit dinner with the proceeds going to fund research for a cure by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Her efforts raised $950 that night and Fulk said she is hopeful additional donations will help her reach her goal of $1,000. To date, donations have raised a total of $980 for her cause.
Fulk’s dinner was staged at the Pine Hill Friends Church in Ararat with each meal selling for $10 a plate and included dessert. She added that many individuals and businesses also donated items for door prizes at the dinner. Diabetes registers on many levels for Fulk. She said her young cousin, Wyatt Zajdel, and his brother, Luke, also have diabetes.
“I was diagnosed seven years ago with diabetes,” recalled Fulk. “It was unexpected. It was a big change for me and it was a change for my parents and grandparents. I was only in the fifth grade at the time.”
She said complications from early onset diabetes are very serious and she had to come to grips with the fact she could have this for the rest of her life because there is no known cure. Many patients manage the disease with the use of insulin injections or insulin pumps.
Fulk said this happened to her in the midst of her parents divorcing so the diagnose was one of two life-changing events to hit her simultaneously. He grandmother, Rebecca Fulk, said from day one Jordan insisted on giving herself her own injections and wouldn’t let anyone else help.
Jordan Fulk said for a short time she used an insulin pump but it proved unreliable so she returned to giving herself injections.
“I figured I could take care of myself better,” said Fulk. “Being a teen, I have my ups and downs. I’m lucky in the fact I can feel it immediately and I haven’t had as severe episodes as others. What I really want others with this to know is they can be a normal kid. They can have a normal life.” She said one of the most difficult things she had to do was learn to recognize her symptoms.
Fulk said she had never organized a benefit as big as the dinner, which included chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw and a roll. Desserts were cooked and donated by church members. She said one of the most surprising things was the cost of getting brochures for the dinner. She also held a talk and slide show on diabetes with her family members participating and is grateful for the help of her mother, Crystal Boutebia.
One of the most heartbreaking things she has witnessed is a cousin whose blood sugar drops while he sleeps causing seizures. The solution the family came up with was a specially trained service dog named Skittles who can smell the chemical changes in the child and alert the child’s parents.
“Skittles can smell the insulin in the little boy’s breath and know when there’s something wrong,” explained Fulk. “He is trained to run to the parents, wake them and put a paw on them or stand up and put his paws on their shoulders to signal something’s wrong.”
Fulk said she counts the dinner a success not only because of the money raised but because of the many young couples present for the meal who were there to learn about diabetes.
“It didn’t hit me until after months of planning,” said Fulk. “The day of the dinner I was sitting in class and going over in my mind the things I had to do that night before the meal.”
She said she was grateful for the help of her family and church family. Fulk said she is a procrastinator so planning was out of her normal routine. She said looking back on the project, she would have spent even more time on it.
She said she is planning on attending Surry Community College and then transferring to Catawba or the University of North Carolina-Greensboro to study music education and would like to teach in the Surry County School System.