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Jessica Wiswall, My Vintage Baby: Her Personal Story

August 18, 2010

JDRF Dallas recently interviewed My Vintage Baby CEO Jessica Wiswall regarding her personal experience with Type 1 Diabetes and how she is on a mission to help find a cure. The following is Jessica’s story:

JDRF DALLAS: Can you share your story with our readers? Your husband and 3 children are Type 1 diabetics, correct?:

JESSICA: I grew up not knowing much… really nothing… about diabetes. I recall there was a little girl in our neighborhood younger than me, but to me, her having diabetes just meant she could not have candy and her fingers were always bruised from pricks. I did not get it.

Jessica Wiswall, President & CEO, My Vintage Baby

It was much later in life when I met my soon to be husband, Jason.  Jason, now 37, was diagnosed with type 1 at age 11.  I will never forget the fear and panic I had when he had his first reaction that I experienced in the middle of the night. I woke to him convulsing and did not know what to do – it is a moment we have had to relive many, many times, however now I know how to handle it.  Still, it is never any fun.

When I became pregnant with our first son, Jackson – who is now 11 – Jason’s endocrinologist told us we had a 6% chance that Jackson would get diabetes.  Sadly, at age 4, Jackson ended up being diagnosed. We were devastated. I still see images of Jason in the restroom with the water running so Jackson would not hear his sobbing,  At the time, we only had one other child, Jaiden who was 2 years old (now 8). Everyone assured us the chances that she would get diabetes were soo slim – maybe 1%?  Well…at age 7, Jaiden was diagnosed as well. Again… devastation.  We tried very hard to stay strong in our faith and be grateful that we were facing diabetes, something we knew about and could work hard to manage over something like cancer.

Jessica's children: Jackson, 10, Jaiden, 8, and Jett, 23 months

In 2008 we had baby number 3 – Jett- a great surprise. Certainly he would not become diabetic. I did all the “right” things – he had breast milk until he was one, ate all the right foods.  I remember seeing a young baby at the endocrinologist when I had taken Jackson and Jaiden for appointments around Christmas. I remember telling my mom that it would “send me over the edge” if Jett, who was 15 months at the time got diabetes too. One short week later, Jett, now 23 months, was diagnosed with type 1 as well. You can imagine our shock. He has handled it so well – we think he thought this was just part of life and now he was a “big boy” like his older siblings doing what they do. We are so proud of how strong he and all the kids are.

JDRF DALLAS: How do you manage everything – your family’s schedule & health, and your business?:

JESSICA: Mealtimes at our house are a nightmare. 4 diabetics – one under the age of 2 is very tough. We get mixed up counting carbs- trying to find foods everyone likes. And at our house – we certainly can’t send anyone to bed without dinner if they act up at meals or argue about what we have to eat!

We prayed a lot about this and realized there had to be a reason that all 3 of our children had become type 1 diabetics. We realized that we could use our growing company, My Vintage Baby, as a platform to help educate people about diabetes as well as raise awareness for the signs of diabetes, and raise money for research and support.

JDRF DALLAS: How did your company My Vintage Baby get involved wth Trista Sutter?

JESSICA: I met Trista, who had starred on ABC’s “The Bachelorette”, through a sponsorship that My Vintage Baby was a part of with Playgroups USA and the Hot Moms Club at an event in NY. When we decided to work together, and that Trista would start designing a collection for My Vintage Baby, it only made sense to involve a foundation and what better than the JDRF? Trista had gestational diabetes during her pregnancy with Max and her father and grandmother live with type 2 diabetes. We agreed that it was a perfect fit to give a portion of the net profits from each sales of Trista’s collection to the JDRF. Her first collection for girls is called Winter Rose and then she has a cool top for boys as well.

Trista Sutter with daughter, Blakesley

We kicked off the new fall line as well as Trista’s collection this week at a kickoff luncheon in Frisco.  The “Tea with Trista” event featured a fashion show, silent auction and picture booth, all benefiting JDRF Dallas.

JDRF DALLAS: The “Tea With Trista” event is a wonderful idea. How else are you involved with JDRF and it’s mission to find a cure?

JESSICA: Our next corporate push is the JDRF Walk for the Cure this fall. My Vintage Baby has put together a corporate team and challenged all of our employees, sales reps and customers to come out and join us to help raise money to find a cure. We have Sales Reps in over 25 states and we have challenged those that are not local and cannot participate with us to start their own team! It is so important to both My Vintage Baby and our family to find a cure!

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