One of the funny things about growing up in a small town is how interconnected you are, even with people barely within your social circle. For instance, my little town in rural Utah has a population of about 2,000 people. There were just over ninety kids in my graduating class, roughly 450 in the entire high school, and that’s pulling from my actual town and the five or six other towns surrounding it. If I didn’t know everyone there, I was still pretty close.
I never interacted much with Jamie Terry (or Jamie King, as I knew her then). She was a year older than me, and far more popular than nerdy little me ever even dreamed of dreaming of. I think I had one or two classes with her my entire high school career, including choir. She was a cheerleader; I was a band geek. Suffice it to say, we ran in very different circles.
And yet, when I heard about her little daughter, Kycie, being absolutely blindsided by Type 1 diabetes, it felt like the tragedy had happened to a favorite cousin I hadn’t seen in years. Judging by the other reactions and posts I’ve seen on social media in the twenty-one months since Kycie’s diagnosis (and only fifteen months since her passing), the rest of my Little Green Valley home was rocked just as deeply as I had been.
Better people than I have been working tirelessly since Kycie’s death, gathering donations and trying to spread information about the dangers and warning signs of Type 1 diabetes. Unfortunately, all I can personally do right now is to give this signal a bit of a boost. Another hometown friend, Michael Hawley, is currently raising funds for the Kisses for Kycie non-profit foundation. He’s participating in Utah’s “Salt to Saint” bicycle race, riding the 430 miles between Salt Lake City and St. George—solo and non-stop. He’s footing the bill for the race, and every donated cent will be sent to Kisses for Kycie. You can find a link to his GoFundMe page here.
Even if you don’t have couch change to spare, please consider passing on this link. You never know which corner of the internet this may bounce to, or who you might help, without ever knowing you did.