I’ve got a big birthday with a 0 on the end of it today, and happy it certainly is.
Working on the embryonic links page of this website, I realise that if I add all those that are currently floating around in my head, I will soon give the game away that I have a complete butterfly mind. So I think I had better prioritise.
At the top of this list of priorities will be the JDRF website. (Note to self: don’t forget to let them know, just in case they want to add a hotlink to mine – inbound links are so good for raising your profile on search engines.)
What’s JDRF? It’s a fabulous charity with a global network raising money to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. This lifelong illness is becoming an epidemic among children, requiring invasive, daily administration of the hormone insulin by multiple injections or a permanently connected pump infusion. Every Type 1 diabetic child must also draw blood umpteen times a day to check that they have not overdosed or underdosed and to help them hit the right balance of blood sugar so that they neither pass out (or worse) or fur up their blood vessels, causing long-time serious organ damage. This balance is particularly hard to strike in babies diagnosed (and there are plenty of diabetics whose age is represented only by a 0 at the end) and in children going through growth spurts and adolescents.
My small and otherwise perfect daughter acquired this incurable disease a few days before her fourth birthday, and so began our 24/7 battle with this unpredictable and unruly condition. Why did she get it? No-one knows. It’s not to be confused with Type 2 diabetes, generally associated (rather unfairly) with poor lifestyle choice, to which some people and certain media have taken a “serve you right” stance. Type 1 diabetes is just one of life’s many lotteries, the prize being the kind that no-one wants to win.
Asked to describe herself in a single word, my daughter would say “diabetic” – and no child should have to give that answer.
Ever since I was her age, my reply for myself would be “writer”, and I am grateful for that. I’m grateful for the talents I have been given, but I’d trade them all in tomorrow for a cure for diabetes. That will be my wish when I blow out the candles on my cake today, but that alone is not going to make it happen. In the meantime, I vow to do something that absolutely is in my power to help the cause: I will offer the JDRF my writing services free of charge and I will also tithe all commissions I get from here on it to benefit their invaluable work.
So – no presents, please – but if you want to make a donation to JDRF, please click on the link.