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Patched up: Naugle finds encouragement after diabetes diagnosis

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, June 23, 2018
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Quite a Collection

QUITE A COLLECTION – Landyn Naugle shows off his patches while wearing his police officer uniform. The 5-year-old received patches from around the world after his Type 1 diabetes diagnosis. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Landyn Naugle’s patch collection started simple.

His father and grandfather, retired firefighters, gave him a few of their old patches, which mom Sherri lined up on the wall in his room. He had eight at the beginning.

Then in January, 5-year-old Landyn from Boyd was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

“He started getting sick, and he lost about 15 pounds,” Sherri said. “His breath starting smelling like fruit. My sister is [a nurse], and she told me, ‘You’ve got to get him to the hospital right now.'”

His blood sugar level was at 538 mg/DL, far above the recommend 70-100. At first, Sherri’s sister thought her meter was broken. Landyn spent a night in the ICU and two days in the hospital while the doctors worked to bring it down.

“He was real lethargic, real tired,” Sherri said. “His stomach hurt. He was low [on blood sugar] often, and if he got low he was almost uncontrollably sad. It was a total behavioral change.”

Check Up

CHECK-UP – Landyn Naugle, diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in January, is learning how to check his own blood sugar. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

A family friend from Irving brought a care package to Landyn while he was in the hospital. In it was a new patch.

“It was the first time I’d seen him smile in a month,” Sherri said.

In an attempt to cheer up her son, Sherri started reaching out to other fire departments and police stations with a simple request – Will you send us a patch from your department? She offered to pay for all them, aiming to get one from each state. She accidentally contacted a Canadian department, and they sent her Landyn’s first international patch.

The news of Landyn’s diagnosis and request spread on Facebook, and soon they were receiving letter after letter of encouragement, many from police officers or firefighters with Type 1 diabetes, and lots of patches, from Ireland to Japan to Iraq, al for free.

“An Arizona Ranger collects patches, and he sent him a few from his own collection,” Sherri said. “Landyn got to send one back [from Boyd].

“I was blown away by the kindness.”

Police officers, firefighters and military sent Landyn shirts, hats and challenge coins in addition to the patches. Soon the line of patches around Landyn’s bedroom wall was three deep and extending up. When Sherri told him they’d completed their goal of getting a line of patches around the whole room, Landyn said, “I want to fill it all the way up!”

Landyn is immensely proud of his collection. Ask him his favorite, and he’ll run his hand along all the patches on the wall and say “This one, this one, this one, this one…”

The kindness of strangers has been a bright spot during a difficult transition. Sherri said Landyn is starting to learn how to administer his own shots, and he’s signed up for soccer and back to being active, but there are still hard times.

“There are days I’m lost,” she said. “I think, ‘Oh, I’ve got it.’ But no, I don’t.

“I’ve had parents call me and encourage me and tell me, ‘When I got the diagnosis I felt helpless.’ They’ve helped me as much as they’re helped him.”

Knowing others with Type 1 diabetes can live their lives how they choose has helped. Landyn is not deterred from his dream occupation.

“I want to be a police officer,” he said, “and have donuts and coffee.”

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