Macedonia -- At nearly 3-years-old, Isabella Dooley is just like any other little girl, wearing a colorful dress with blue ribbons hanging from her pigtails, demanding a cupcake from her parents and playing with her brother and sister, with whom she shares a birthday.
However, unlike the other two of the Dooley triplets, Isabella has an additional day to mark each year. On Aug. 28, her parents celebrated Isabella's "Diaversary," the one-year anniversary of her diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. She was just under 2-years-old.
"We were living in Mexico at the time, so it was a big shock to us," Greg Dooley said. "We knew nothing about Type 1 Diabetes before her diagnosis, but we quickly became experts after spending about four days in the hospital learning about Type 1 Diabetes and how to manage this condition in such a small child."
Isabella's parents now check her glucose levels about 8 to 10 times per day and give her insulin injections about four times per day, including in the middle of the night while she's sleeping. Her parents said Isabella is very cooperative during her glucose checks and insulin injections.
"She's showed us a lot about strength because she's been so strong about this over the past year," Greg Dooley said. "She never cried or complained. When we check her glucose she just sticks her finger out."
Because Isabella does not produce insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar into energy, her parents have to constantly monitor what she eats. Greg Dooley said he and Kristina have to watch how many carbohydrates Isabella eats because it is converted almost instantly into sugar.
"We've taken the approach that we don't want her to feel different," Greg Dooley said. "If we give Max and Mia (her siblings) a cupcake and tell Isabella she can't have one, she doesn't understand that."
This year Isabella began preschool, and questions flooded in from her classmates about why her mother was poking her with a needle and if it hurt her.
"It was really wonderful to hear Isabella answer the questions with really good answers," Kristina Dooley said. "She seems to really know and understand what's going on as much as a 3-year-old can."
Because Isabella's parents are constantly attending to her condition, Kristina Dooley said she has noticed Isabella's siblings getting jealous.
"We don't want the other two to feel that we love Isabella more," said Greg Dooley. "It's also hard because we have to constantly monitor her and be much more careful about what she eats."
It has been a tough year for the family of five, but Kristina and Greg Dooley said instead of mourning, they are doing something about it by trying to make a difference.
In the past year, the couple says they have raised more than $14,000 for diabetes research.
They also started a website called InspiredByIsabella.com to raise awareness about diabetes and to raise money for research. The website originally began as Facebook page the couple used to share their story with friends and family while they were living in Mexico.
This year will be the first year Isabella and her siblings celebrate their birthday in the United States, having been born in Argentina and moving to Mexico City, where Isabella was diagnosed.
The family is originally from Northeast Ohio, but Greg Dooley's job with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has had them on the move for the past couple of years.
Greg Dooley said one of the things he's learned most from this situation is how to deal with the challenges that come his way. "We could have looked at it like woe is us," he said. "We already had busy lives and this was just another big complication … but we decided to attack it head on and deal with it."