The year was 2013. Dalton Fricke was your typical happy teenager. Dreams and aspirations of acceptance into the Coast Guard Academy and ultimately becoming a helicopter pilot were within a few years hard work’s reach! Mother's Day weekend in 2013 changed his world…forever.
Dalton was the kid where I had to throw away Easter candy at Halloween before he could go trick or treating. Diet never included soda but did include an abundance of chicken and greens. I thought we were doing everything right. One night (I will never forget) I heard Dalton moving about and I arose to find him in his bed drinking water quite feverously (guzzling) out of a gallon jug! When I asked why, he said “it had been like that for a couple of days”. I took him to the doctor the very next day and was told his glucose was “off the meter” (what does that mean??). We were sent immediately to AI DuPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE, where we first heard the diagnosis Type I diabetes.
The first words from my son’s mouth were -”Mom, I can't go into the Coast Guard now”- and that is when I knew our lives and Daltons dreams were going to change drastically forever.
AI DuPont Hospital was FANTASTIC – besides educating us on how to manage and control Type I diabetes, they also kept Daltons spirits up. I quickly learned there are no (further) local support groups for our “diagnosed age group”.
Learning the life style of a young diabetic was a nightmare; especially for a teenager, when almost everything is a challenge to start with. We both had to learn how to avoid a mistake that could cost his life. Dalton has always been a fast learner and once he was on the pump and CGM the adjustments he had to make to his life became a bit easier to manage - but accepting …was quite a different thing.
Grades dropped, tears flowed and focus was lost. Time to re-group.
Once we cleared one hurdle, the next one was directly ahead of us. With no time to waste Dalton had to re- start the search for what he wanted to pursue as his vocation. It was hard to think about; brushing aside what most his age take for granted -but he pushed on....a great kid I must say!!
Dalton’s perseverance paid off – he was invited to study at one of the most revered engineering schools in America…. Yet something was still missing. This is where it becomes very interesting ….when dreams you thought were dead - come alive!
Dalton has always wanted to be in the sky- made evident by his aim to fly in the Coast Guard Academy. He wanted to be a pilot - a dream no longer evident after he was diagnosed. Something happens to a soul when dreams are crushed.
Dalton’s opportunity at having an impossible dream come true came in the form of the extraordinary mission of Jump at Life and a chance meeting with Carl Block. That is when Dalton’s dream became reality....Dalton would JUMP to prove that there is no limit!!!
Flying through the skies has changed his attitude about his life forever! There are not enough words available to thank you!! There is no longer a 'disability', it has been replaced with the power of knowing that he has done what only 1% are brave enough to accomplish and with this in his heart “The sky is no longer a limit of what he can do!!”.
What your team is doing is fantastic; Dalton already has a sense of purpose of ‘Paying it Forward’ and has done so since his JUMP! Your cause will be remembered and appreciated FOREVER in our hearts and souls! I will keep you posted on his health. God Bless Jump at Life!!! Blue skies forever and Jump safe!!!
Kathy Fricke (Mom)