This is a six-part series, published in 2003. Since its online debut, this article has appeared on thousands of health websites around the world. It's posted in Africa, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Canada, Europe, Asia, and has been translated into various languages.
I posted this story on the life and suffering of my mother in order to help others, so her life would not have been in vain. This week, the Lord told me to share this article with my readers. Those of you who have read this column faithfully will be able to witness the devastation faced by my family and me – my mother suffered for 12 years with diabetes – and all of the other complications that result from having the disease. Here is my story:
It's my pleasure to introduce to you, a new diabetes prevention education public relations campaign, established under the name of Fannie Estelle Hill Grant. I initiated the campaign after the loss of my mother who succumbed to Type 2 diabetes on December 25, 2000.
I noticed a fire burning in the diabetes health arena, specifically, in the African-American community. Today, it continues to burn out of control, and ravage families and their loved ones. The public relations campaign was started in an effort, to "Fan the Flames", and extinguish the disease for once and for all.
Mother was 73 years old, a wife and mother of nine children, a homemaker, who loved her family very much. She believed in preparing wonderful home-cooked meals for the family, and she would gladly prepare desserts any day of the week. Mama enjoyed cooking, cleaning and washing clothes, and although she raised nine children of her own, she always had room for other needy children.
In our early years, during the 1960s, mother was the wife of our sharecropper father in North Carolina, but my parents moved the family to Washington, D.C., in 1965. For more than 30 years the Washington metropolitan area was home.
The family learned of mother's Type 2 diabetes after she suffered a major stroke in 1989. She lived only 12 years after the diagnosis. Lyndia and her Sisters, (The Grant Sisters) pledged to begin the education prevention campaign while they cared for their mother during her last year of life.
Mother and father moved back to North Carolina, where she enjoyed her later years in a peaceful way. We [the children] purchased a new home for her, assumed the mortgage payments, and she was happy. Mother Grant enjoyed living on the 226-acre farm, near Kinston; she was one of the heirs to the farm left to her family by their father, and my grandfather, Floyd Hill. She enjoyed walking around the farm, following my father as he worked. And, she loved shopping at yard sales with her sisters.
Mother suffered many additional strokes; during one of them, she lost the ability to speak coherently. Her kidneys failed, she had kidney dialysis for the last two years of her life, she had high blood pressure for many years, and both of her legs were amputated above her knees.
The Problem: We wanted to know more about the disease that took our mother in such a brutal fashion. There was so much pain and suffering prior to her death. Mother Grant was a Christian – an Evangelist – who preached the gospel in churches throughout the Washington D.C. area, and everyone loved her and called her Ma.
Our mother was very special. As her oldest daughter, I promised to carry out a public awareness campaign, to educate millions of people regarding the causes and prevention of Type 2 diabetes. In educating the general public, I feel a lot better now, because my mother's life shall not be in vain.