On March 22, 2018, Sierra Greenlee’s day began with nothing out of the ordinary. She went to work, looking forward to seeing her daughter, Arya, at the end of the afternoon after a week apart.
Arya was coming home from her dad’s house and Greenlee couldn’t wait to see her and hear all the details from the last few days.
“I was dreaming of the late morning breakfast and playtime we would have when we woke up,” Greenlee wrote in a Facebook post.
“When I got to the babysitter’s she had carried her to my car, my daughter was completely knocked out she had had a hard day. In an offhanded way I asked if she was breathing, joking. Until I put my hand on her little chest and I felt no movement.”
Instantly, she sensed that something was terribly wrong.
“I ran her back inside and laid her down and started CPR on her little limp body. In my head I knew I needed to remain calm but I couldn’t,” the mother continued.
“Finally, after what seemed like an hour which in actuality was probably only 15 minutes EMS got there and took over. For the next hour while they tried desperately to bring me back my baby.”
“I called my parents and her dad, I paced, I cried, I prayed.”
Greenlee described the thoughts that raced through her mind as she waited.
“I thought of the fact that the last time I had seen my baby awake she was begging me not to go to work and I went anyway. I was thinking about what it would mean for me if she was gone. I thought of what it would be like to plan my child’s funeral and all the things we would miss out on.”
The horrific ordeal continued at the hospital until Greenlee received the tragic news.
“I was there for maybe 10 minutes before a doctor came in,” she wrote. “He said, ‘we did everything we could but unfortunately we were unable to revive her and she did not survive.’”
Stunned, the young mother held her baby and grieved, at a loss for what could have caused the little girl’s sudden death.
“After about 30 minutes or so they came to me and told me they had run some tests and it appears she had had undiagnosed Type 1 Diabetes and her blood sugar level was in the 500’s,” nearly five times higher than a normal person’s.
Greenlee had no idea.
“I could not comprehend this information. How could my baby have Diabetes?” she questioned.
“Later I found out that Diabetes is not something they test for in small children. They don’t typically test until they are school age and show signs.”
In the wake of her daughter’s death, Greenlee has been determined to spread awareness about the illness and its impact on children.
“In hindsight I noticed signs but at the time I wrote off as being a toddler,” she told The Western Journal. “I had no idea it was not something that is automatically checked when they test their iron at their check-ups.”
Greenlee decided to post her story online, imploring parents to watch out for hard-to-spot symptoms.
“The signs for Diabetes in toddlers are they drink a lot, pee a lot and are tired. It can also appear very suddenly,” she wrote.
“These signs are easily missed and overlooked because most toddlers do these things. The test is a simple blood sugar test that you have to request at their wellness check-up.”
Hoping that the warning could help save lives, Greenlee wrote of her daughter’s final moments. She shared her grief, her heartbreak and her passion that no other children should lose their lives so young and so unnecessarily.
In 2018, the mother said her post helped save the lives of 13 children. Greenlee reposted her message in March of 2019, hoping it could help save even more.
“Sharing my story has brought me comfort, knowing that Arya’s memory will live on through the children who have been saved and the many lives she has touched,” Greenlee told the Western Journal.
“I beg you to ask your child’s doctor to test for it. I beg you to become aware of the signs and symptoms of childhood Diabetes,” she said in her post. “I beg you to share this post and story with everyone because no parent should ever have to hear the words ‘I’m sorry but unfortunately she did not survive.’”
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