Fighting a Disease

Jackson, 2016 Charlotte Half Marathon

Written by Tammy Lowry, Jackson’s Mom
At the age of 12, my son Jackson Lowry decided to join the Isabella Santos Foundation Dream Team.  The Dream Team trains together as a group to run a half marathon, supporting each other and raising funds for ISF and pediatric cancer.  November 2016 was his first half marathon, and he did a phenomenal job.  He politely reminds me every day that he beat me, and he is going to beat me again this year.  His motivation might be to beat his mother in a half marathon, but the biggest joy I embrace is how he is learning about fundraising and supporting our community when there are kids a little less fortunate.  But then something happens that reminds me – – he knows what that is like.  He knows how it is to fight a disease.  He has Type 1 Diabetes, and it haunts us when we least expect it.
Last Saturday was a critical part of our half marathon training.  We were meeting for a group run that is 10 miles of the actual race course.  Unfortunately, Jackson had a cross country meet that morning with his middle school – so we both did not attend the group run.   Instead, we got up on Sunday and hit the streets at 7:45am to accomplish this run together.  There is a part of the half marathon course that is a huge hill on Providence Road.  Jackson and I both agreed that once we run that, we are golden.
We start off with our run, and he is in high spirits.  He is directing me which route to go, which streets to run on.  He was so pumped.  We pull that hill on Providence Road and when we reached the top he started to slow down.  Now he fell behind me in pace.  We were only at 3 miles – – we had a long ways to go.  I kept looking back at him to see what was going on, and I looped back around.  His blood sugar dropped significantly and he was having a diabetic attack.  I pulled out a bag of energy beans because that is all I had on me at the time.  He ate the entire bag and felt better immediately.  But when you deal with blood sugar highs and lows – it affects your attitude, your mood, and your motivation.  He lost all motivation after his attack.
As he looked at me completely wiped out, he told me to go ahead and run.  I was hesitant at first.  I ran ahead of him and I would circle back around to see how he was doing.  Then I finally kept on running but talked to him on the phone as I completed my 10 miles.  He walked it behind me, but he kept going.
The entire time I thought – – what is he going to say to me when we meet back at my car?  Will he be defeated?  Will he be upset?  How do I handle this as his mom?  I certainly know that you have good runs and bad runs, but will he understand that?  He is only 13 years old.
We get back to the car and he looks at me and says, “I will get it next time.”  Yes you will Jackson, yes you will.  This weekend, we have an 8 mile run, and I know he will do it.  His heart is full of motivation and he won’t quit.
– Tammy Lowry, Jackson’s Mom