Breakthrough T1D One Walk team Bloody Roses

Malena Rubalcava named her Breakthrough T1D One Walk Team Bloody Roses. “Roses are beautiful to look at,” she said. “But if you touch a thorn, you bleed, just like when you check your glucose level.”

Malena was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in May of 2022 and her story is a common one: she was losing weight and drinking a lot of water, so her parents took her to the pediatrician. The seven days Malena spent in the hospital gave her parents time to contemplate. “We approached her diagnosis with an ‘I’ve got it’ mentality, which impacted how Malena approached it,” her mother Sulin said.

The Rubalcavas reached out to Breakthrough T1D for support after receiving a Bag of Hope in the hospital. They immediately signed up for the Los Angeles Breakthrough T1D One Walk. There, they realized they were part of an entire community of people with a positive approach to T1D. “Marlena was happy to be there,” Sulin said. “She was excited to see she wasn’t alone in her diagnosis.”

Another Reason to Walk

In their first year, the Bloody Roses raised over $1,000, making Malena a V1P (much to her delight!). This year, they’re back with even more reasons to fundraise for T1D research: Malena’s younger sister, Belisia, was screened for T1D and determined to be at risk of also developing the disease. Sulin is glad they found out about Belisia’s risk through screening because it gives them the opportunity to be prepared and proactive. “Now Belisia can potentially qualify for new research or therapies to delay type 1 diabetes or even prevent it,” she said.

The Rubalcavas recently attended a TypeOneNation Summit, which they found invaluable. “The Summit helped us have a deeper understanding of type 1 diabetes,” Sulin said. It also gave them great hope for the future: “We want Malena to feel empowered in managing her T1D and live a normal life as much as possible.”

Join other T1D families at your local Breakthrough T1D One Walk!

Special thank you to our partners at Ford for their 25 amazing years of support, raising more than $75 million, and inspiring many others to join the Breakthrough T1D One Walk to move critical research for type 1 diabetes forward.