MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Just like any other brother and sister, 10-year-old Gus Newton and his sister Clover love playing games, but unlike most, they’re also twins with active lives.
“I like to play outside with my friends. I like to watch TV, and I like to draw and swim and go rock climbing,” Gus said.
“I like playing outside with our neighbors and playing with our cat,” Clover said.
Their parents, Emily and Andy Newton, say their children had been blessed with good health.
“They’ve been resilient from the very beginning, and they had a hard first two months of life and came out perfectly strong,” Emily said.
“We are proud and blessed to have 10-year-old twins and they’ve had quite a journey and they light up our lives,” Andy said.
But their lives were turned upside down back in June of this year. Gus wasn’t feeling well and had to be taken to Le Bonheur.
“Then he got really sick and started presenting symptoms that were severe enough to take him to the emergency room,” his mother said.
“I was flabbergasted and got smacked. I was just working from home and hanging out with Clover. I thought at worse it might be pneumonia,” Andy said.
Doctors determined it wasn’t pneumonia, but Gus would be diagnosed with something that surprised his parents.
“Gus was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and he’s still fighting that,” Emily said.
Emily and Andy worried if Clover would also have Type 1 Diabetes.
“He (Gus) is a Type 1 diabetic and come to find out at the beginning of the summer and she is not,” his father said.
Type 1 diabetes is often referred to as “juvenile” diabetes because it usually develops in kids and teens. It’s an autoimmune disease that occurs when a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, which controls the body’s blood sugar levels and is needed to produce energy.
“I felt worried about his future. and what that would look like,” Emily said.
To manage the disease, Gus wears a continuous glucose monitor called a Dexcom that checks his blood sugar levels. His mother said the machine does a constant reading of his blood sugar so they don’t have to prick his finger all the time.
The monitor is attached to her upper arm, and it communicates with their smartphones and Le Bonheur.
“It sends to his phone and my phone, and I can see where exactly where he’s at and kind of his trend through the day. He got high there and now coming down,” Emily said.
“They’re (Le Bonheur) very high tech and they’ve set us up with the technology too so that they can keep an eye on him and his health every day,” Andy said.
The Newtons say Gus’ health specialists are much more than just doctors and nurses.
“I felt like they were our advocates from coming and checking everything from the medicine to future equipment, programs, and the school plan. It felt like a giant safety net,” his father said.
That giant safety net has Gus feeling better today. Even though there is no cure for type 1 diabetes and nothing you can do to prevent it, Gus remains optimistic about the research being done to find a cure.
They have been studying and like they’ve gotten a step closer to finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes,” Gus said.
Even without a cure, the Newtons say Le Bonheur is the reason their son is healthy.
“As far as I’m concerned, Le Bonheur saved my child’s life, and you realize that all around you I’m in this club of gratitude with parents all around me that have some type of miracle story from Le Bonheur,” Andy said.
Gus’s miracle story, much like his sketch pad and pencil, draws a picture of survival and hope thanks to Le Bonheur.
It’s a special hospital that Clover says is responsible for bringing her twin brother back to their family.
“Thanks for taking care of my brother…making him feel like Gus again,” Clover said.