Every night come midnight and 3 a.m. while most young kids are asleep, 8-year-old South Brunswick child Logan Fech is awakened by his parents for his nightly routine. While some kids may wake up in the middle of the night for bathroom visits or nightmares, for Logan waking up is a matter of life and death.
Logan suffers from a severe case of Type 1 Diabetes, commonly known as juvenile diabetes, and needs to have his blood sugar checked throughout the day and night.
"We set our alarm for midnight and 3 a.m. to make sure his blood sugar stays regulated, so when it's low we give him juice and when it's high we give him insulin," Logan's mother Meghan Fech said. "He's on an insulin pump and he gets the finger prick checks before every meal, and if he has a sporting event then we check his blood sugar before that. If his sugar is high then it causes him to go to the bathroom more frequently, so he has to run off the field to go to the bathroom or has to sit out of activities."
The Fechs first picked up on a potential problem with Logan when he was 3-years-old, as they noticed he was often very thirsty and would frequently wet through his pull-up diapers and his bedding. Although diabetes has deprived Logan from having a typical childhood, his difficulties still haven't wiped the smile off of his face.
"Logan during (baseball) games has to run to the bathroom often, but I can tell you never have I seen him complain or make a big deal about it," said Logan's baseball coach David Ciccone.
Still, with his twin brother Dylan completely healthy, Meghan said Logan can often feel left out or dragged down by his daily difficulties managing diabetes.
"He handles it pretty well and doesn't complain too often," she said. "He gets a little tube shot into his body connected to the insulin pump and that's very difficult for him. He tries to handle it as well as he can and we do our best to give him a regular everyday life."
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed. As a result, people with diabetes need to keep a close eye on the total amount of carbohydrates in their diet. For a kid Logan's age, these limitations can be difficult.
"Logan sees his brother eating things that he can't eat and that's difficult for him," Meghan said. "A few weeks ago he asked why he can't just be a normal kid. We try to make life as normal as possible for him, but he notices that he's a little different than other kids, and that's the hard part for us."
In an effort to try to bring some normalcy to their lives, the Fechs are working to raise money to purchase a diabetic alert dog. The highly trained canines are able to detect significant changes in blood sugar just through the sense of smell. After they detect a drop or increase in blood sugar, the dogs are trained to bark or carry an item to a diabetes patient or parent to alert them to the problem 20 to 30 minutes before any machine could pick up the change in sugar level.
"Getting this dog would have such a huge impact on our lives," Meghan said. "It would give him more independence. He's not always able to detect when his sugar is low and he's feeling weak or tired, he doesn't always pick up on that. We've had situations where his sugar was low and he started convulsing and going into a hypoglycemic attack and it was really scary."
Just getting on a waiting list for a diabetic alert dog costs $1,000, while the dog itself costs $20,000. In an effort to raise funds for "A Lab for Logan," the Kendall Park Fire Company allowed the Fechs to sell roses at their annual flower sale. But much more help is needed to raise the needed funds to help bring some security to the lives of the Fech family.
Anyone wishing to help the Fechs raise the money for a diabetic alert dog can visit the Guardian Angel Service Dogs web site by clicking here. Once on the site, there's a link at the bottom of the page to make a donation. After donating, the company will send a return email to ask which family a donation should be directed to.
"It would be amazing to have this dog able to pick up on when his sugar drops high or low," Meghan said. "It could really save his life in an emergency situation when we might be sleeping or aren't around."