Alyssa’s Promise came from Alyssa and her family (The Zepeda Family) who are my next door neighbors. I still remember night they told me about their oldest daughter passing, she died in a car accident, almost a year ago (April 26, 2015) at the time of this posting.
Alyssa was a very bright young lady. She was very friendly too. The death of Alyssa brought forth awareness for diabetes and driving, called Alyssa’s Promise.
Keeping drivers safe with diabetes.
Alyssa was a graduate of Jefferson County High School class of 2013. She was also attending Walter State Community College at the time of her death. 1
The Standard Banner stated …
“She wanted to control her schedule and have her independence when she got to college,” explained her mother, Nanette Zepeda. “I would tell her over and over to test her blood sugar and take her insulin shots, but I know she was not taking care of her diabetes properly.”
Nanette, said Alyssa hated her diabetic condition and was concerned about rejection from her friends by the time she was in high school. She had a boyfriend, but she did not even tell him she was a diabetic.2
I know she was in college and working to get a degree teaching. Nanette also told me that Alyssa was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was a child. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.3
It was on Sunday morning last April that the accident occurred. I remember coming back from church to find this out. It was said she lost control of her vehicle. It swerved onto oncoming traffic, where she was hit head-on. The other driver couldn’t avoid the collision. I was also told that Alyssa died on impact.
The Standard Banner also reported …
State Trooper Toby Cameron was alerted about a possible drunk driver and was on his way to the scene. However, he was too late. When he called in her registration, he found out Alyssa had her medical condition stamped on her license. The license was in her bra, not in her wallet, and she didn’t have an ID bracelet or necklace to identify her as a diabetic. 2
I know I that I remember the shock on her family as they told me about her death. Even her family that came in from Louisiana, was talking to me too.
I know I have a coworker with diabetes. He already knows that he cannot drive when his sugar is low. I knew that from how he acts when his sugar drops. I didn’t know that it was dangerous for them to drive when their sugar was very high until now. That is what Alyssa’s Promise is about, is raising awareness.
Alyssa’s Promise came about from this accident. The Zepedas turned to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) about possible education to the public about diabetes and driving. Together the JDRF and the Zepedas created Alyssa’s Promise.
Alexis Zepeda, the sister of Alyssa went to contacting police and first responders if they knew the signs of driving or dealing with those with diabetes when they are driving impaired.
According to the Standard Banner article, it said those driving with low or high blood sugar can be similar to someone driving impaired by drugs or alcohol.
If you have diabetes make sure you have it stamped on your driver’s licenses. Also it is best if you wear your diabetic ID bracelets. It is best to let your friends know too. Don’t be ashamed. Give them information, how to give you your shots if needed, what do if your sugar spikes or drops.
You can get involved in Alyssa’s Promise too! You can even sign a contract or a form of a promise. This is for both teens as well as adults with diabetes. The website also has links to places to buy your medical alert bracelets for diabetes or a reckless if you wish to have that instead.
If you have diabetes, we ask you to promise your loved ones that you will take the necessary precautions for safe driving.
If you are the parent or caregiver of a teen with diabetes, we ask you to have your teen sign a driving contract with real consequences for driving without checking blood sugar.
If you are a first responder, we ask you to help educate your fellow first responders about the signs of high and low blood sugar and how to deal with each.
If Alyssa’s death can prevent one other person with diabetes from dying in a car accident, her goal to be an educator will have been fulfilled. 4
That is what Alyssa’s Promise is about.