Death of Ivy Anderson inspires young north Alabama racer

MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - This week we mourn the loss of a colleague, 22-year-old Ivy Anderson, who passed away suddenly from natural causes.

Through her life, Ivy managed a few ongoing health issues, which she largely kept private. She never wanted them to get in the way of her passion, her ambition or her love of journalism.

One of those issues was type 1 diabetes. Ivy was born with type 1 diabetes. Doctors diagnosed her with the disease when she was three years old. Ivy was one of about 1.25 million who lived with type 1 diabetes. It's estimated that 40,000 people will be newly diagnosed with the disease each year, according to the American Diabetes Association.

As we at the station look for our own ways to honor her memory and her life, we're immensely thankful to be joined by some caring members of the community--- who, like so many of us here -- saw the best of themselves in Ivy's life and her work.

 

Memorial contributions can be made in Ivy's name with the American Diabetes Association and to Ashton Kutcher's Sex Trafficking Prevention, THORN.

Racing in Ivy's Memory

One of those she inspired is Taylor Corum.  Taylor, 10, honored Ivy in a particularly memorable way Saturday night.

WHNT News 19's Chelsea Brentzel, Ivy's colleague and close friend, spoke to Taylor and her family.

Taylor's mother, Christy Hall, said the family heard the news of Ivy's death Friday.  Taylor, like Ivy, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young child.  Her mother said Taylor wanted to learn more about Ivy, who she was and how she lived.

"I deal with the same struggles," Taylor says. Checking blood sugar, giving insulin shots and managing what to eat became a normal routine.

Ivy wouldn't allow her diabetes to get in the way of what she wanted to accomplish.

Neither does Taylor.

She is a quarter midget race car driver and when she went to the track on Saturday, she had only one thing in mind.

"She wanted to race really hard for Ivy," her mother said.

Taylor wanted to send a message.

"To WHNT, the whole crew ... and her family and everybody who knew her and was good friends with her, because I thought it would be special and in memory of her," Taylor said.

On Saturday night, before she began racing, Taylor duct-taped a photo of Ivy onto her car and won her second race.

"It felt good because I got to stand on my car ... I remember looking down and I saw her face ... and her camera," Taylor said. "She looked so happy in the picture and I imagined her being happy in the place she is now."

All that was left was the victory lap -- first to WHNT and then, to Taylor's home ... on Ivy Meadow Circle.

Taylor was gracious enough to leave the trophy here at the station to watch over us. But she's ordering magnets for her car to honor Ivy through the rest of the season.

Know the risks

Diabetes is an epidemic in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million Americans have diabetes and face its devastating consequences. What’s true nationwide is also true in Alabama.

Approximately 634,000 people in Alabama, or 15.4% of the adult population, have diabetes. Of these, an estimated 127,000 have diabetes but don’t know it, greatly increasing their health risk.

In addition, 1,334,000 people in Alabama, 37% of the adult population, have prediabetes with blood glucose levels higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

Every year an estimated 31,000 people in Alabama are diagnosed with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association says that type 1 diabetes can occur at any age and affects people of every race and size.

Research says there are more adults with type 1 diabetes than children, even though the condition was previously called juvenile diabetes.

When someone has type 1 diabetes their body does not produce insulin. Their body breaks down carbohydrates into blood glucose for energy. Insulin is the hormone that our bodies need to transfer glucose into our cells. Insulin therapy is the most common treatment for type 1 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association says a major focus of the organization is studying and looking for ways to make the lives of those who have type 1 diabetes easier. In 2016, the association dedicated 37 percent of its budget to projects for type 1 diabetes research.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes onset in an infant or child

The ADA says young children who are urinating frequently, drinking large quantities, losing weight, and becoming more and more tired and ill could be because of new-onset type 1 diabetes. If a child who is potty-trained and dry at night starts having accidents and wetting the bed again, they say diabetes could be the culprit.

Although it is easy to make the diagnosis diabetes in a child by checking blood sugar at the doctor’s office or emergency room, the tricky part is recognizing the symptoms and knowing to take the child to get checked. Raising the awareness that young children, including infants, can get type 1 diabetes can help parents know when to check for type 1 diabetes.

Common symptoms of diabetes

  • Urinating often
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry—even though you are eating
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss—even though you are eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
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