It’s been just over two years since Lyric Ramirez of Luling was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes. The now 11-year-old and his family are gearing up for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s annual One Walk, where money raised will power more research, enable more advocacy and fund more support for the 1.6 million Americans living with T1D.
The walk will take place Sept. 18 at Lafreniere Park in Metairie. Gates open at noon, and the walk starts at 2 p.m.
“I think the walk really brings to light that were all in this together,” Ashley Ramirez, Lyrics’ mother, said. “No one fights alone.”
Ashley said that Lyric’s diagnosis came as a shock.
“It completely flipped our world upside down, but it has brought us closer together,” she said. “It has helped us grow in closer in our faith and relationship with God. Our source of faith and strength comes from the Lord, but everything changed at the drop of the hat.”
Lyric has a continuous glucose monitor and insulin pump. Ashley said that people have stepped up for her family since Lyric’s diagnosis.
“With any kid it takes a village, but without the support of my parents and our amazing teachers and family and friends this would be nearly impossible,” she said.
The Ramirez family has sold shirts to fundraise for the JDRF walk. The shirts, as well as Lyric’s fundraising page’s name, pay homage to a family friend who passed away a couple years ago, Ashley explained.
“On Palm Sunday 2020, a beautiful cardinal visited with us in our backyard. My mom introduced her as Lillie Mae,” Ashley said. “Mrs. Lillie Mae Crosswhite was a second mother to my mom when she was growing up. Lillie’s daughter has been my mother’s best friend for most of her life. She brought my mom to church and treated her like her very own. She passed away in 2019. As the saying goes, ‘Cardinals appear when angels are near.’”
One week and day later, on April 12, 2020, Lyric was diagnosed.
“We were at the height of the pandemic and in the middle of a national shutdown,” Ashley said. “After weeks of red flags, I made the decision to have things checked out. He was wetting the bed, excessively thirsty, and quite moody. According to his doctors, we got him there just in time. The days that followed were some of the most difficult of our lives.”
Ashley said from that day on there were a bevy of coincidences that kept pointing to cardinals or lilies.
“I loved the coincidence and sweetness of these little signs – winks from God himself,” she said. “We find joy in the little signs and wonders from a great big Savior that loves us unconditionally. He is our safety, our covering, our refuge.”
And from there – Lyric’s Lillie Maes was born. While shirt sales have ended, Lyric’s fundraising page is still accepting donations. It can be accessed by visiting www.jdrf.org and searching “Lyric’s Lillie Maes.”