From Schaumburg to D.C., Harding advocates for those with diabetes

  • Kaili Harding, president of the Schaumburg Business Association, with her daughter, Eisleigh. Harding is working to educate the public about Type 1 diabetes, a disease she learned her 8-year-old duaghter has.

    Kaili Harding, president of the Schaumburg Business Association, with her daughter, Eisleigh. Harding is working to educate the public about Type 1 diabetes, a disease she learned her 8-year-old duaghter has. COURTESY OF KAILI HARDING

  • Sam Acho, linebacker for the Chicago Bears, and Kaili Harding, Schaumburg Business Association president wait outside Sen. Mark Kirk's office in Washington D.C., in early April. Acho and Harding attended the American Diabetes Association's Capitol Hill's Advocacy Day. Harding went as a volunteer national advocate for the American Diabetes Association.

    Sam Acho, linebacker for the Chicago Bears, and Kaili Harding, Schaumburg Business Association president wait outside Sen. Mark Kirk's office in Washington D.C., in early April. Acho and Harding attended the American Diabetes Association's Capitol Hill's Advocacy Day. Harding went as a volunteer national advocate for the American Diabetes Association. COURTESY OF KAILI HARDING

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    Rodrigo Fernandez

  • Amy Pecoraro

    Amy Pecoraro

  • Peter Caliendo

    Peter Caliendo

 
 
Posted5/1/2016 1:00 AM

Kaili Harding, president of the Schaumburg Business Association, went to the nation's capital not to advocate on behalf of businesses, but for those with diabetes, including her 8-year-old daughter.

The Elmhurst resident volunteers her time with the American Diabetes Association and, earlier this month, visited Washington, D.C. for the association's Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. She was among several other volunteers, including professional football players, such as Sam Acho, a linebacker with the Chicago Bears. Harding met with Rep. Mike Quigley of the 5th District, and Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk about the importance of educating the public, research and funding to find a cure for diabetes. She also visited the White House to meet with researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the White House Task Force about Diseases.

 

While she was doing this for all those with the disease, she had a special little one in mind, her daughter Eisleigh. Harding discovered Eisleigh had Type 1 diabetes about five years ago.

"She had some symptoms that I did not, at the time, realize were related to diabetes," Harding said. "They were a constant thirst, a constant hunger. I'm talking 2 hamburgers in one sitting, mood swings, extreme fatigue, frequent urination."

While at a barbecue, Harding asked friends, who have a daughter with diabetes, about the symptoms. That led her to call the doctor that Monday morning.

After a urine test for ketones was positive, and a finger prick to calculate her blood sugar showed that she had a blood sugar above 600, the doctor rushed them to Central DuPage Hospital. Eisleigh spent a week in the Pediatric ICU recovering from the onset of diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA.

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"We received training on how to care for her, and began what will be a lifetime of management for a disease

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that, as of now, has no cure," she said.

Harding said she is still coming to terms with the diagnosis and what it means for her the future of her daughter, now in second grade. Eisleigh has just as much of a chance of attending college on her own, getting married if she chooses, and having children as any other person, Harding said.

"There will be some challenges, and also some changes that will need to be made, and she will do those things with more doctors' visits than the average person will," Harding said. "But if you look at her now, you will see a friendly, active, outgoing young child that in some ways has benefited from her diagnosis. She has become extremely self-reliant. She is very good at math, because we are constantly adding carbs, working with percentages and fractions in real life, unlike other 8 year olds would. She has also learned to be an advocate for herself, and isn't afraid to talk about her pump and meter that she wears everywhere she goes."

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• There's more to business than just the bottom line. We want to tell you about the people that make business work. Send news about people in business to akukec@dailyherald.com. Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter.

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