Ten-year-old Roy Lesnewski’s T-shirt read: “OK I admit it was my sister’s fault.”
The fifth-grader at Twin Peaks Elementary School wore it as a sort of a joke, his father, John Lesnewski said.
See, Roy’s little sister did sort of put him on the spot last Thursday.
For her “heroic actions” helping Roy through a diabetic emergency, 8-year-old Jesse Lesnewski received a commendation from the Northwest Fire District.
The entire second- and fifth-grade classes came to the school cafeteria for the ceremony. Afterwards, the siblings spent nearly an hour giving press interviews.
“Everybody deserves recognition,” Northwest Fire paramedic Rick Pike said of the hoopla.
He recalled the early-morning scene at the Lesnewski house on Friday, Feb. 27.
When Pike and firefighter/EMT Miles Collie arrived, they saw Jesse outside flagging them down. The second-grader was in her pajamas hugging a stuffed animal, Pike remembered.
“She was upset,” he said. But, she held it together throughout the ordeal.
That morning, Jesse had tried to wake her brother for school.
Roy, who was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when he was 7, didn’t respond well to his sister’s prodding.
“He started asking all these silly questions,” Jesse said. “His color wasn’t normal.”
Figuring his blood sugar had gotten too low, she fetched a soda and some chocolate syrup.
“What’s in chocolate syrup and soda?” Pike asked the students during the ceremony.
Hands shot into the air. “Sugar!”
“Now I’m not saying we all should have chocolate syrup and soda for breakfast,” Pike said, “but (Roy) really needed it.”
Normally, someone’s blood sugar should range from 60mg to 120mg, Pike noted.
On Feb. 27, Roy’s had dipped to 30mg, the paramedic said. “He was deteriorating.”
By the time Pike and Collie arrived, however, the sugar fix had brought the fifth-grader’s blood sugar level back to normal.
The medics checked him out and sent him on his way.
“I’m always telling her it’s OK to be scared,” said Rhonda Lesnewski, Jesse’s mother. “But don’t panic.”
Mom ought to know. She’s a 9-1-1 operator.
On duty at the time, she wasn’t home when Roy had his blood-sugar dip. Father John was and had called paramedics when Jesse alerted him to her brother’s trouble.
“It’s frustrating,” John said. “You can do everything right and this can still happen.”
In fact, last Thursday, Roy had to boost his sugar intake before the award ceremony. His nerves had his blood sugar a little off, John said.
After receiving her award, Jesse got a round of hugs from the fire district officials who had come to the school that day to honor her.
Managing his diabetes is something Roy will have to deal with his entire life. To help him monitor his blood sugar level, the 10-year-old wears an Insulet OmniPod on his thigh.
“I don’t even know it’s there,” Roy said.
At his age, Roy’s blood sugar level can fluctuate wildly.
“If he hits a growth spurt one month, it’s affected,” Rhonda said.
“If a girl smiles at him, it can change,” John added. “Almost anything.”
Jesse has become an important part of the entire family’s push to help Roy manage his condition.
“We’ve never kept his diabetes a secret from her,” Rhonda said.
If she could tell families dealing with diabetes one thing, it would be: “Keep it an open dialogue. If they have siblings, they’re never too young to help.”
Throughout the ceremony to honor Jesse’s efforts, mother and father beamed.
“She feels very responsible for her big brother,” John said.
“They couldn’t be closer if they were twins,” Rhonda added.