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Racing for a Cure - The Ponseti Family

Many runners I have interviewed for the Coloma River Races say they started running in high school. Some stopped running years before picking it up again, and for others it was just the beginning of a quest to keep racking up the miles year after year.

For Deanna Ponseti, it’s a little of both. Deanna lives in Roseville and works part time for a non-profit. She started running as a teenager. “I was on the track and cross country teams in high school but as an adult I got more serious about running after my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes,” said Deanna. Seeing her son needing shots numerous times a day inspired Deanna to do something outside her comfort zone and the training began. Deanna ran a marathon one year after his son’s diagnosis, but says a half-marathon is her favorite distance.

Deanna heard about the Coloma River Run through JDRF and ran the 10-mile course the inaugural year in 2012. Since then she has run the 5K with her sons William and Neil. William was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes five years ago when he was three years old. The Coloma River Run raises money for JDRF in the fight against juvenile diabetes. Deanna likes that the race is for a cause that is very personal to her family. “The boys had both run a mile before but I thought they were up to the challenge,” said Deanna. “William likes running on trails better than the road. Out on the trail, he keeps focused.”

When William starting showing symptoms of diabetes at a young age, Deanna emailed his doctor and they went in the next morning. They did a couple of tests and then Deanna met with an endocrinologist getting a crash course in Type 1 Diabetes. “We explained what was going on the best we could to a 3 year-old,” said Deanna. “Giving him shots was very tough in the beginning. He quickly learned this wasn’t temporary.” Fortunately a few months later, he got an insulin pump and now wears a continuous glucose monitor too.

William has a good understanding of his diabetes and what he has to do to monitor it and stay healthy but that doesn’t mean he can’t have a treat every now and then. “We always ate healthy before William’s diagnosis. A couple times a week we will enjoy a treat as a family,” said Deanna. “I have noticed the more clean he eats and the less processed food is, the more steady his blood sugar.”

I asked Deanna what words of wisdom should would pass along to a family with a new diabetes diagnosis. “I want new families to know, it will get better! The first few months you are in a daze but after the first year, it all begins to get easier.” Deanna says things that seemed so difficult at first are second nature now. She expressed having a good support system and an outlet also helps. “The running helped me immensely in the beginning. It was the only time I didn’t think about William’s diabetes,” said Deanna.

Managing William’s disease is a family affair. It’s something that won’t keep the Ponsetis from doing what they love. Next up, the Coloma River Run!

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