Meet The Smith Family!
My name is Jade Smith. I live in beautiful Southern California, where I am a teacher and single mom to 2 amazing children (I’m obviously biased, but they are really cool). Geoffrey turns 15 in July of 2021, and Allyson will turn 13 in November. They are both at the ages where we round up, so I’m giving them that benefit here.
Both kids have had their bouts with occasional health issues, injuries and what seemed to be typical childhood ailments. In the younger years, Geoffrey would often get sick, and it would pass quickly. Allyson on the other hand, would get sick and it would stick around for weeks. I’ve often joked with her teachers about if anyone was sick in the class, Allyson was going to catch the bug and run with it. She broke both legs by the time she was 4. She has had pneumonia more times than I care to count. She missed about 25+ days each school year from TK through 3rd grade. But we never knew why, and just chalked it up to a weak immune system and bad luck.
Getting a diagnosis
Finally at the beginning of her 4th-grade year, my mom instinct kicked in full throttle and I demanded blood work. We got a call within about 18 hours of the blood work telling us to get to the emergency room immediately. Allyson was admitted for 15 days, and her crazy APS Type 1 journey began! It was during that hospital stay that I started scouring the internet, researching, reading articles, and jumping down every rabbit hole that sounded even remotely similar to Ally’s story. It was at that time that a fellow APS Type 1 mom messaged me (Ashely Thompson Harris) and said our girls had similar stories. I totally blew her off at first, but eventually came around and am forever grateful to Ashley! She was RIGHT! We got Allyson’s official diagnosis in December, about 4 months after her hospitalization.
The 1st few months were really, really bad. Ally got so sick. She lost 30% of her body weight. She had to stop going to school. I took a leave of absence from work. It was incredibly scary and confusing. Through all of it, the APS Type 1 family lifted us, guided me and made sure we were not alone. On the hardest days, a fellow APS1 mom would randomly reach out. When I had a question or concern, there the APS Type 1 family was. We were connected with NIH and visited the amazing team there in March of 2019. Allyson has continued to improve since then, and it is my hope that I can pay forward some of the support I’ve received.
Meeting The APS Type 1 Foundation
The APS Type 1 Foundation enabled my children and I to attend the IDF Conference in Maryland in June of 2019. Being with other families that we related so closely to was so amazing after such a rough time in our lives. It was truly an amazing experience, and we are all so excited for when we can get together again in the near future. Until that time, we have tried to support the foundation in other ways.
I’ve shared asking for donations on social media several times, but this year decided to copy a friend’s recent fundraising idea, and do a walkathon. I have to admit, I’m kind of a cheater. I absolutely did the steps, but over the pandemic I transformed my at-home-work-station by adding a standing desk and treadmill. So, I’m able to multitask and walk about 10 miles during the day while I am working. In April, for my birthday, I decided to turn my steps into dollars, and asked for sponsors. Luckily for us, I evidently have a lot of friends and family that were more than willing to support the APS Type 1 Foundation. I walked over 223 miles in April, and raised over $1,100 for the Foundation! We raised awareness, spread the word, and helped to support a foundation that has supported us more than we can describe. We never feel alone with the APS Type 1 Family by our side. We are so blessed to know you all! #rarediseaseperks