Hope Diagnosed at Age 11
When Hope Miles of Indianapolis, then 11, complained of fatigue, her mother wasn't concerned. It was flu season in central Indiana, and the adolescent's symptoms matched those of her peers. "But when I found her crying in bed one evening, saying, 'Mom, something is wrong. Take me to the doctor,' I knew it was serious," says Susan Miles. A urinalysis by Hope's pediatrician led to an immediate diagnosis: diabetes. For a family of three healthy girls - the most serious health concern faced to date was a broken arm - the prospect of an illness with such lifelong implications was devastating. Within hours, Hope and her parents were in the emergency room at Riley Hospital for Children, where Miles, filled with troubling thoughts about her daughter's future, received comfort from the source of her concern. "Mom, it's just diabetes," Hope said. "It could be a lot worse." Throughout Hope's three-day stay at Riley Hospital, a dedicated team of physicians, nurses, social workers and nutritionists helped prepare the Miles family for the lifestyle changes that accompany diabetes. "I was so impressed with the full force of their effort," Miles says. Today, Hope faces her illness with the grit and determination her mother has come to expect of her middle daughter. "Diabetes has not slowed down Hope," Miles says. A member of Cathedral High School's tennis team and a student athletic trainer for the school's football squad, Hope's weekends are packed with babysitting gigs, as well as creative endeavors like sewing and beading with sisters Mary, 17, and Julia, 13. More health conscious since her diagnosis, Hope has eliminated red meat from her diet, loading up on fruits and vegetables and cutting back on her favorite dessert - New York cheesecake. As an events coordinator for the Riley Children's Foundation, Miles feels her work is, in many ways, a tribute to the care her daughter received at Riley. "Things happen in life," says Miles. "You end up in places where you didn't expect to be, and in this case, I sometimes wonder if I was led here to this job in preparation for the time when Hope would need Riley."