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Pavliks Help Daughter Lindsay Redirect Her Strong Athletic Prowess to Fight Diabetes

As a student athlete, Lindsay (Pavlik) Lawrence was spectacular. Not only was she class valedictorian, but she was twice named to the All-California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) first team as a middle blocker for the Mater Dei High girls’ volleyball team. She also received All-CIF basketball honors, as well as Mater Dei’s “Athlete of the Year” award in 2000, and accepted a scholarship to Northwestern University, where she was starting outside hitter as a freshman. Off the court, she was named an Academic All-Big 10 Conference student. Still, it was something less conspicuous that the Laguna Hills woman spoke of with an even greater sense of accomplishment: her willingness to take Type 1 diabetes by the horns and live life to the fullest.

Today, Lindsay, her husband, Chris, and her parents, Tom and Debi Pavlik of Laguna Beach, have joined the Hoag Hospital Foundation campaign to expand the care that the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital provides to include children, adolescents, young adults and the underserved. “When my mom said that Hoag was expanding its Diabetes Center to include a new program for young adults, I told her, ‘That’s exactly what I want to become involved with!’ ”Lindsay recalled.

The Diabetes Diagnosis

Born at Hoag, Lindsay learned she had diabetes at age 10. Thus began an odyssey of ups and downs, highs and lows. “I didn’t know much about the disease - just that I could never have sugar again and I had to have insulin shots,” said Lindsay, now vice president/relationship manager for a bank. “I thought it would be over in a couple of years. ”It wasn’t. Although told by doctors at Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC) that the Pavliks could control their daughter’s diabetes, there were challenges. Injections had to be given no matter what happened. At times, Lindsay needed to excuse her self from activities that her teammates had to endure to keep her blood sugar level steady. Teammates occasionally rolled their eyes. So did her opponents, who wondered why one of Mater Dei’s top athletes was injecting herself courtside. Lindsay’s parents faced difficulties, too - hoping when they went to wake her in the morning that they wouldn’t find her in a diabetic coma. “Many nights when she went to bed, we wondered whether this might be the last time we’d say goodnight to her,” Debi said.

Help from Others

After Lindsay left for college, others pitched in. “That was the most difficult thing,” Tom said. “We talked with her roommate, her coaches and her trainers, and fortunately Lindsay developed a good group of friends who helped look out for her. Today, she has Chris. ”In early 2008, Chris awoke at 4 a.m. to find Lindsay catatonic and sitting in a chair with a dangerously low blood sugar level. He gave her nourishment and stayed awake to make sure she didn’t relapse.

Clearly, keeping Lindsay healthy has been a team effort. So when the “team” learned about efforts to expand the Mary and Dick Allen Diabetes Center, they got on board. Tom, Debi, Lindsay and Chris joined the Campaign Committee, and the group recently hosted an event at the Pavliks’ Laguna Beach home. Lindsay and Debi are also involved with Limbo, a Hoag organization that assists young adults with diabetes.

The Allen Diabetes Center, which will open in 2009, is committed to providing the best care possible for people of all ages. It focuses on improving the lives of those at risk for developing diabetes and those who already have the diseaseby facilitating prevention, early detection, prompt care, education and support. “What I really like is the ongoing education that will be provided through the center, as well as the support that will be available for everyone, ”Lindsay shared. “This will be a one-stop center where anyone from childhood on up can come to receive care, education and support.”

The Best of All Worlds

For Lindsay, the expansion of the Allen Diabetes Center creates an environment where the finest doctors, advanced technology, up-to-date diabetes information and comprehensive support all come together - with a focus on children, adolescents and young adults. Tom asserted, “The Allen Diabetes Center will tie a ribbon around the best programmatic elements now available.” Tom and Lindsay’s excitement stems from the fact that the expanded center is in keeping with Hoag’s commitment to provide the best care to everyone.

“I always thought Hoag was a wonderful community hospital, but because I was treatedat CHOC I never thought of it in the context of my diabetes,” Lindsay explained. “Helping this campaign to make the center a model for diabetes centers everywhere is a perfect way for me to give back for the wonderful care and support that I’ve received through the years.”

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