family raises awareness &
money for juvenile diabetes research
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
When Tony and Leann Franklin found out they were expecting their
first child, they would soon receive the news they were having
not one, but two boys! Their pleasure was doubled as their new
family was formed. On February 27, 2003 Tanner and Trenton made
the Franklins family number come to four! Learning to parent
the twins was a new adventure for the young couple, keeping them
Then just eleven days before the identical twins reached their
first birthday, another twist came to the young parents.
Trenton just didnt feel good, began Leann, remembering
exactly how her son behaved. He was just lying around, sort
of whining. As any good parents would do, she took him for
immediate medical care. She agreed at that age they cant
really tell you where it hurts, but you know something is wrong.
Trenton was diagnosed with strep, but something more troubling
was going on. His blood sugar count was 1000 (normal is between
Then following suit, as twins often do, Tanner became ill with
a yeast infection. The next diagnosis changed the Franklin familys
way of life forever. Both twins had juvenile diabetes mellitus
or more commonly known as Type I diabetes. This is a chronic disease
caused by the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin or
the body inappropriately uses the insulin it does produce.
Tony and Leann were thrust into the world of constant monitoring,
checking their sons blood sugar levels many times throughout
the day and night, and reacting to their needs accordingly.
The boys turned four this past February and if you didnt
know their history, you couldnt guess they are diabetic.
Their rosy little cheeks match their fiery red hair and blue eyes
twinkle with mischief. They do not seem to have a care in the
world. For their parents, their care is top priority. They get
their little fingers poked 6-8 times daily and each take four
It changes the way we do things, admitted Tony, as
his son leans on him at their home in Dabney. Nothing is simple.
When going to the grocery, the Franklins have to make sure they
have everything to meet their sons medical needs. We
always pack a bag with meds, finger sticks, snacks, and more,
The last weekend of May, the family took part in a walk at Holiday
World to raise funds for juvenile diabetes research. We
hope theyll find a cure soon, they echoed.
Trenton and Tanner walked with their team and raised about $400
for the event. We did it in about a week, noted Leann,
who said she went online to find out the event was sooner than
she thought. We wanted to be a part of it and set out cans
to collect money. Now theyre preparing for next year.
Knowing the long term effects of the disease such as damage to
the eyes, blood vessels, nerves and kidneys, the Franklins joined
others at Holiday World to help raise $228,000. There were 1300
walkers participating in the second annual event. It was
neat to watch everyone checking their blood sugars, commented
Leann, who said lots of children with the disease took part in
the walk. Our boys were probably about the youngest,
Medical personnel from Riley Hospital, Indianapolis, were on hand
to check blood sugars and provide a free lunch. This is the hospital
that provides care for the Franklin twins.
Trenton and Tanner wore shirts that read: In the past 3
1/2 years I have had 4,712 shots, 7,068 finger pokes and Im
still tooooo sweet.
The Franklin familys life revolves around the disease their
sons now live with. Everythings on a schedule,
they agreed, saying, Its not stopping us. Its
a disease you can live with. Leann became tearful as she
said they feel blessed when they go to Riley Hospital and see
all the children who have terminal diseases.
Their lives are changed, just as nearly 1.4 million others who
face Type I diabetes. Their sons medical needs run about
$3,000 monthly and they are thankful its covered by insurance
until theyre 21 years old.
Both Tony and Leann keep vigilant watch on their sons checking
them throughout the day and yes, even the night. The nighttime
is our worst fear, Tony admitted. Due to the long period
of time while they sleep their blood sugar levels could dip dangerously
low. Weve found out that peanut butter is a good bedtime
snack. These are the kinds of things theyd like to
discuss with other local parents and perhaps get a local support
Another big challenge for the couple is childcare. You cant
just leave them with anybody, Tony said. Tony works days,
has about five minutes with his wife for an update of the days
activities before she leaves for her evening shift. They share
childcare responsibilities with each other and also care for their
10-month-old daughter, Lila, who has the same sparkling blue eyes
and beautiful red hair. Will she also have diabetes? The couple
wont know for two more months when shell be eligible
to be tested.
Maternal grandparents are Roy and Darla Brown of Butlerville.
Paternal grandmother is Denise Biddinger of Greensburg and Kenny
Franklin of Holton.
The Franklins are interested in meeting others in the area who
are parenting children with diabetes. You can contact them are
812-689-6885 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trenton and Tanner Franklin, identical twin sons of Tony
and Leann Franklin of Holton, enjoyed seeing Santa Claus
early this year when they visited Holiday World to participate
in a walk to help find a cure for diabetes, a disease they