Bullock County Girl Turns Illness Into Giving

Far out in the country in Bullock County, something remarkable is taking place, a Christmas story born out of illness. It's the story of 10-year old Jody McDonald.

McDonald is a little girl afflicted with the worse kind of diabetes, type one diabetes yet in some ways Jody's condition has been a gift. She found the ability to bring joy to children fighting mightier battles at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. That's where Jody spent some time when she first got sick.

"I saw a lot of kids in wheelchairs, and they were scared," said Jody.

"We went to my sister-in-law's house in Florida and she had flip-flops," said Jody's mom Joanne McDonald.

One idea led to another and before she knew it, Jody, mom and her brother Cody started weaving together fuzzy flip-flops. They sold hundreds of them and used the money to buy toys for sick children at the hospital. A photo album on the coffee table chronicles Jody's giving since Labor Day.

"We had a goal for December 5th," said Mrs. McDonald.

Today, Mrs. McDonald estimates they've fashioned hundreds of flip-flops with a few more boxes to go. Along the way, they believe they've eased the pain of children who are trying to get well. Jody knows what they're going through.

"I can be scary," said Jody.

With her insulin pump at her side, Mrs. McDonald says there's no reason why her daughter can't enjoy a full life as long as she eats right and exercises. Right now though Jody's mind is focused on something else besides her diabetes; prettying up a few more slippers for the children who are hurting. A labor of love, one step at a time.

It's estimated that 20 million Americans have Type 1 diabetes. There is no known cure.