Prev Previous Alex Cheff - Quilt 163 Next Prev

Quilt Photo
Open larger quilt photo in new window
Alex Cheff
New Jersey
Diagnosed May 14, 1999

My name is Natalie Baran and I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 9 in 1980. I was the only one in my family to have been diagnosed with diabetes. I have had my ups and downs with this disease and went through A LOT of denial. This, added with the "normal" teenage rebellion years, I was a holy terror for my family and closed myself off from them, as I am sure they did to me after trying to get through to me with no luck. As the years went on, I started to accept and understand what this disease was all about and how horrible it really is. I had one wish in the world at that time and included it in my prayers all the time. That one wish was that I never wanted anyone in my family ever to develop diabetes, especially any child. I also wished for a cure every day of my diabetic life. I figured they could cure cancer, why not diabetes?

Now, my sister and I had never been close. We had different opinions, views and concerns and could never see eye to eye. Although I loved her dearly, I couldn't be a sister to her. Well, on Mary 14, 1999 my sister called me at work and told me that Alex was in the hospital because he was diagnosed with diabetes and this was the most life-changing news I had received in a long time. My heart sunk, my eyes filled with tears and, all I could think about was how my sister's life was going to change and how Alex would never be the same again. At that time, I was living almost 900 miles away from my sister and felt so helpless.

In the days to come, my sister and I had developed a relationship that, to this day, I treasure with all my heart. My sister is my best friend and, at times, my therapist and Alex has become my hero! He is the one that convinced me to go on the pump and that has changed my life so much I cannot even begin to tell you. I can talk to Alex and I understand things that no one else can. We now share an even more special bond then just aunt and nephew.

I've come to the conclusion that God does not give us more than we can handle and my sister has handled this like a pro. She is supportive, loving, understanding, and, at the same time, she does not make Alex feel like he is any different from his sisters or friends. So, when she asked me to make a quilt square for Alex, I didn't hesitate for a minute to do it. I immediately started to think about what the quilt would look like and what I was going to do. I drew up many sketches, went looking for material, etc. I wanted this quilt to represent Alex and who he is with and without his diabetes, that he is a child first and a child with diabetes second. It took me quite a while to come up with the design, but one day I was just sitting in the living room and it came to me. Alex is the typical American boy. So, what a better way to tell his story! So, with my heart, I cut, pieced, sewed and quilted this with all my heart and soul. I love Alex with all my heart and hope that, in his lifetime, there will be a cure!

Now for a funny story. I was up one morning until 3 a.m. trying to finish the quilt and was getting tired, but determined to finish, after all, the deadline was coming FAST! I was finishing putting the top, bottom and middle together and start to sew. Well, as I was sewing, the quilt was in my lap and somehow my tubing to my pump had gotten caught on the batting and I didn't realize it! All of a sudden, I feel a tugging on my side and the sewing machine to slow down. I thought maybe a thread had caught on me from the quilt so I am trying to find it so that I can cut it loose. Mind you, scissors are the tubing's worst enemy! (LOL) FINALLY, in the semi-awake state I was in I realized that I had sewn the tubing to the quilt! I started to laugh so hard and then started to cry because I knew that I now needed to do a site change considering the tubing had many tiny holes in it! (LOL)

Natalie Baran

Quilt made by Aunt Natalie Baran

[ Open This Quilt Page in Its Own Window | Submit an Update ]