Photo: Caleb Sampen, Pro Baseball Pitcher and Amy’s Son
Amy Sampen is the Co-Founder of the 501c3 Foundation, Strikeout Type 1 Diabetes (KT1D). Her passion for this cause is buried in the very depths of her soul. Amy has lived with this dreaded, relentless disease for over 20 years as two of her three sons are type 1 diabetic.
Amy will never forget that day, the phone call and the long drive. He was only 5 years old. He had been manifesting the signs of Type 1 Diabetes, and the two signs that stuck out most were frequent urination and extreme, unquenchable thirst. It was a Saturday morning. It was game day.
With gear in tow the Little Leaguer drove off with his dad and brothers for his T-ball game while Amy drove off towing a heavy heart and a cup of his urine to be tested for glucose at his pediatrician’s office. She had called the pediatrician’s office earlier that morning to express her concerns. The office at first discouraged her from coming, stating that his thirst could be caused by the extreme summer heat, and that his doctor was not in the office that weekend. Amy explained that her heart and mind could not rest, and waiting until Monday was not an option. So she drove on, all the time hoping she was wrong and that she was just wasting her time rather than enjoying watching her son’s T-ball game.
On the drive, she poured her heart out to God, begging Him to please let this cup pass from her little boy (Matthew 26:39). She cried, she prayed and she pleaded. She knew she had to trust Him with whatever happens. She parked and walked into the office and stated “I am that crazy mom who hopes she is wrong,” while knowing in her heart that she was right. His life was forever changed, and Amy’s heart forever broken.
He was admitted to Riley’s Children’s Hospital where Amy learned what she must do to keep her little boy alive. Insulin can be lethal. Too much and he could die. Not enough and he could suffer severe health complications including dialysis, amputation and blindness. He would be robbed of the innocence of his childhood, and Amy would be robbed of the quiet confidence of knowing her little boy would be alright.
It was eight years later. They were on a spring break baseball trip in Nashville, TN. He was 13 years old. Amy had noticed he was looking much thinner, but figured he must be growing and getting taller. One night in the hotel room she heard him constantly wake up to use the restroom all night long. In her gut she knew, but didn’t want to face the truth. She couldn’t, but she had to. It was three in the morning. She got his brother’s blood meter and made her approach. The look of devastation and desperation on his face haunts her still. He knew but didn’t want to face the truth either. All the meter displayed was the word “HIGH”.
Amy tried to be strong in the face of her fears. Thoughts flashed through her head at lightning speed as she tried to grasp the magnitude of what this meant for him and their family. How could she possibly do this? How could she physically, psychologically and emotionally care for TWO Type 1 Diabetics? Where would she find the strength?
And then she remembered…
Dr. Denise Faustman at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston has made the Revolutionary Discovery that the BCG Vaccine (Tuberculosis Vaccine) Reverses Type 1 Diabetes. Dr. Faustman and the Faustman Lab are privately funded and are not manipulated by big pharmaceutical companies and their boardrooms. Amy has made it her mission, and thus KT1D’s mission, to raise funds to support the valiant efforts of Dr. Faustman. It is her dream to see all Type 1 Diabetics set free from the shackles of this debilitating disease.
For the last 20 years, the Faustman Lab has been the leader in investigating the potential of the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine to prevent and reverse autoimmune diseases including Type 1 Diabetes. This research has advanced from early mouse studies, moving to mechanistic, in-vitro trials and now a multi-trial human clinical research program.
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