Sometimes, when you have what seems like an impossible dream, you just have to do what you can to try to make it come true – and then hope for the best. My dream is that a cure will be found for Type 1 diabetes. But it’s not really impossible. Clearly I’m not able to make this happen myself: I’m no Marie Curie. But there are incredibly talented, inspired and dedicated scientists in this world who, with enough money to fund their research, will find a cure one day. Of this I’m sure. And in the meantime, maybe I can help bring that day closer by raising awareness (and funds) through occasional blog posts here. You don’t have to read them. But I defy you to look my lovely daughter Laura in the eye here and say you don’t care. Because this is her story.
This picture was taken on Laura’s ninth birthday, at her party. That’s five years and ten days after she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes is a devastating disease. If you are unfortunate enough to get it, it is likely to strike you in childhood – and if you get it, you’ve got it for life.There’s no known cause or cure. It’s a life sentence.
Diagnosed at the age of 3, Laura cannot remember life without illness.
No, she will not grow out of it. (Exhibit A: my husband – he still has his Type 1 diabetes at the age of 58.)
Immediately on diagnosis, the daily routine must begin of frequent blood testing, which means pricking your fingers to draw fresh blood lots of times every day. You must give yourself an injection of insulin several times a day, or wear an electronic pump 24/7 that will deliver the insulin into your flesh via a cannula. Refusal is not an option: without this treatment, the patient will quickly die. Many do, all over the world, in countries too poor to provide healthcare.
My daughter is lucky – we get the treatment she needs.
She’s lucky – she has the sterile needles required to safely prick her fingers six times a day for her blood tests. (But just because they’re sterile, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.)
She’s lucky – from day one, she had the NHS to supply the clean needles and insulin needed to provide her four injections every day, and she had loving parents who were prepared to give the injections until she’s old enough to do it herself.
She’s lucky – she’s now got an infusion pump with a tube sunk into her flesh 24/7, to deliver her life-saving insulin subcutaneously. The insertion needle for this tube is long and thick and it hurts when we have to change it twice a week.
We’re lucky – she’s brave and uncomplaining by nature, but even so we have to bite our tongues when someone complains about having a one-off inocculation or flu jab. She’s a seasoned veteran of the hypodermic needle. Her fingertips are pitted with black dots from her multiple daily bloods tests. And yes, no matter how often you stick needles into yourself, they still hurt. I will forever mourn the loss of my daughter’s perfect health.
But I’m not after pity for my family’s plight. What I really want is a cure – not just for my darling daughter or husband, but for the generations of children yet to come, all over the world, who will continue to suffer from this wretched disease, until we find a cure. Please help me to help them.
For every penny that you donate to the JDRF, that cure comes a little closer.
(By the way, Laura sends hugs.)