Christmas light display honors family member lost to Type 1 Diabetes

Light display is at the intersection of 68th and Freemont St. in Lincoln

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Decorating your house for Christmas is a tradition for many people, including the Otto family of Lincoln.  But, this year their display means a lot more.

Christmas was one of their daughter Nicole’s favorite seasons.  She loved spending time with her four kids and family.  This past January, at 37-years-old Nicole past away from complications of type 1 diabetes.  For her parents, Deb and Tim, this is their first Christmas without their daughter.

They weren’t planning on decorating this year, but their grandkids reminded them their daughter would have wanted them to continue the tradition.

They ended up putting up the decorations and made a sign in her memory.

Nicole was almost 17 when she started not feeling well.  When her family took her to see a doctor, the doctor said she had type 1 diabetes.

Deb recalls what it was like then, “All we could do was, it felt like we were just putting out fires with it.”

21 years ago there wasn’t the kind of treatment there is today.  And as Nicole grew older shew would have episodes of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (D.K.A) which would almost leave her in a coma.

Her mom said, “Every time she’d have one those episodes it was just that much more damage that was being done to her body, and so we kinda watched her deteriorate.”

Eventually Nicole got an insulin pump, which kept her from having episodes of D.K.A all the time.

Everything was going as well as it could have for her and her family, until one January night.  Her mom said she was suffering from a severe headache, something she would often get as a result of her diabetes.

Deb explained, “Her boyfriend had called us… he asked if we would go check on her, or if we had heard from her, and we hadn’t either.  We tried [getting a hold of her] again and then we went over and my other daughter and I are the ones that found her… and she had just past.”

As difficult as this first Christmas is without her, this light display reminds her parents of her.  The light display is at the intersection of Freemont street and 68th street in Lincoln.

Her family is asking for people to donate to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), which is an organization that researches and studies type 1 diabetes to find a cure and treatment for the disease.  Deb says the reason she is doing this is so other families don’t have to go through what they went through because of this disease.  If you would like to donate to the organization click this link.

Categories: Lancaster, Nebraska News, News, Top Stories