The Warmington family turns a diagnosis into an opportunity to support pediatric care

Categories: Diabetes Center
A little more than a year ago, as a new school year approached, excited soon-to-be kindergartener, Charlotte Warmington, visited her doctor for routine immunizations, to which she had some seemingly insignificant reactions. However, these minor side effects to her shots were soon followed by a variety of a larger issues including leg pain, fainting at school, bed wetting, intense thirst and weigh loss.

Through it all, Charlotte was still her happy self, and while her parents, Jim Jr. and Deena Warmington, felt none of these symptoms were too alarming, they were still very concerned. Deena began reaching out to friends for advice on what might be going on with her daughter. A friend recommended she take Charlotte for a blood test. That same night, Deena tested Charlotte's blood sugar using a home test and it read "HIGH." She immediately called CHOC and was told to give Charlotte a ketone test. After seeing the results, it was decided that Charlotte should be taken to the ER right away. At the ER the Warmingtons learned their daughter hadtype 1 diabetes. Deena recalls not knowing much about type 1 diabetes other than what she had seen in the film Steel Magnolias, which didn't paint a positive picture of the disease. Desperate to understand the severity, challenges and repercussions of living with type 1 diabetes, the Warmingtons immediately delved into educating themselves and Charlotte's entire extended support team of family members.

Upon learning the news of their granddaughter's diagnosis, Vicki and Jim Warmington Sr. turned to Hoag for guidance and support as they, along with the rest of the family, started down an unfamiliar path. Together, one of the first things they did was attend CHOC's“Care Giver” class at the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center to learn how they could help care for Charlotte.
"The CHOC facility at the Allen Diabetes Center is fantastic for education and more importantly, was a lifeline for Charlotte and our family," says Jim Sr. "It helped us to understand how serious type 1 diabetes is and that it truly is a 24-hour disease that will need to be actively managed for the rest of Charlotte's life."

Their positive experiences at theCHOC Children’s Endocrine and Diabetes Center, which is located with the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center, prompted Vicki and Jim Sr. to make a series of generous donations to the pediatric services program.

The CHOC facility at the Allen Diabetes Center has helped the Warmington family manage Charlotte's diabetes and has been a great resource for them. Deena compares the center to a spa, saying how much she appreciates that it’s so convenient, easy, accessible, and supportive. "I wish everyone knew how amazing the center is and how wonderful the team members are. Everyone is incredibly accommodating, available and knowledgeable; we are so grateful to have the Allen Diabetes Center and CHOC to help us through our journey,” Deena said.

Charlotte is now in the first grade and is doing great! She is an active 7-year-old who enjoys playing soccer and tennis. While Charlotte is a remarkable little girl who administers her own tests and even notifies her parents, sibling, friends and teachers when she is “going low,” she feels the impact of her diabetes as any child would with the burden ofregular monitoring of her blood sugar, multiple insulin shots per day, and a guided nutrition plan.

Deena and Jim Jr. are incredibly positive and grateful for the success they have had thus far in managing Charlotte's diabetes but the daily fears stay with them as they check their daughter's levels at 10 p.m. every night. They can’t help but worry about the inevitable; when the time comes for her to go off to college and they can no longer walk to her room for nightly checks. This experience has taught them that type 1 diabetes affects the entire family and requires lifelong management and they are immensely grateful for the support they have found at Hoag.
Charlotte’s diagnosis ushered in a new awareness of the daily challenges faced by her and the thousands of other children living with type 1 diabetes. This has given Vicki and Jim Warmington Sr. a deep desire to support the pediatric services at the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center. Ultimately, their wish is that a cure will be found for diabetes.

It is because of the compassion and generosity of people like Jim Sr., Vicki and the entire Warmington family that CHOC, in collaboration with theMary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag, is able to offer pediatric endocrinology care, education, and support services for children with diabetes and their families.