Monday, July 27, 2020

DKA Awareness & Type 1 Diabetes Misdiagnosis

Let’s talk about Type 1 Diabetes warning signs.

Every time I hear of a child or adult who is in the hospital fighting for their life, or worse- having lost their life after a Diabetes misdiagnosis, it breaks my heart. These posters should be in every pediatrician’s office and every family doctor’s office, because with one simple blood sugar test, lives could be saved.

As a parent, please be aware of what doctors often mistake T1D for. I’ve heard far too many stories that go like this: A kid gets sick, and they think it’s a normal bug. They take their kid to the doctor because it doesn’t seem to be going away. The doctor tells them it’s the flu and to let it run its course. So they listen, but their kid keeps on deteriorating and their *mom/dad alarms* are going off. They take them back to the doctor and the doctor prescribes them some antibiotics. They take their kid home and watch as they seem to fade away. They decide it’s enough, that this can’t be the flu, and it’s time to go to the hospital. By the time they arrive at the hospital, their kid is completely lethargic and practically unconscious. They’re taken back right away and are quickly told that their kid has Type 1 Diabetes and that they’re lucky they brought them in now, because a few more hours and they would have died. Their kid is in severe DKA and needs to go to the ICU.

!T1D CAN HAPPEN IN ADULTS AND CHILDREN ALIKE! So as an adult, please be aware of the signs yourself. And if you feel concerned at all, ask your doctor to test your blood sugar, or if it could be Type 1.

The more these warning signs are shared, the more cases of DKA can be prevented.
Look out for:
Excessive thirst
Weight loss
Frequent urination/Bed wetting
Blurry vision & headaches
Fruity breath odour
Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
Extreme fatigue & weakness

Thanks to Beyond Type 1 for their ongoing attempts to spread posters like this in doctor’s offices around the world. Ask your doctor’s office if they could put up a poster.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

Fundraiser Spotlight: Spare A Rose, Save a Child


This is the vision of Life For a Child, an amazing group that raises money so that youth with Type 1 in places without access to education, insulin, and other supplies can have those resources. They work with diabetes centers in countries like Rwanda, Mexico, and India.

This Valentine’s Day, Beyond Type 1 is supporting the ‘Spare a Rose, Save a Child’ campaign by Life For a Child. The idea is simple:

1. Buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day.
2. Donate the price of that rose to Life For a Child here.
3. You’ve helped bring insulin to a child in need!

Roses are classic for Valentine’s Day, but WOW, are they expensive. But we still buy them for people we care about because it’s a gesture to show our love for them. And don’t get me wrong, I love roses. But what a beautiful, simple idea, that if we can each spare one rose (because really, who’s counting?), that money that goes to a flower that will die, can help a child continue to live by having access to insulin. People often buy a dozen roses. It looks beautiful in a bouquet and all, but personally, I’d be just as happy and flattered with one rose as I would with a dozen! And if I heard that the person who got it for me was going to get me a dozen, but instead donated the money to this campaign, I would be even more touched by their gift.

I first heard of Life For a Child when I visited their booth in the exhibition hall at a Friends For Life conference. I loved the sound of it right away (who wouldn’t?!), and when I went and looked further into their website, I was even more amazed at what they do.

I wanted to share this story from their website, that really gives you an idea of how your donation can help.

"Mireille lives with her family on the outskirts of Kigali, Rwanda's capital city.

Her father paints wheelbarrows for a living, which isn’t very well paid, but they are a close family and manage to get by.

Mireille has already been through a lot in her short life. At 10 years old she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Although the diagnosis was a terrible shock, it was a shock that the family knew all too well. Mireille’s little sister, Therese, had been diagnosed two years earlier. She was in a coma and Mireille was terrified as she watched her parents rush around trying to save her little sister’s life.

Now the same thing was happening to Mireille. The symptoms were mild at first. She was at church when she started to feel unwell. “I was weak and having blurred vision. I was thirsty. I always wanted to drink much water.” At the hospital Mireille’s father didn’t want to face the fact that both his daughters have diabetes. Surely this couldn’t happen twice? He looked at the doctor with tears in his eyes as he received the news that his eldest girl also had this cruel condition.

“It was so painful but what can I do?” Mireille's father.

When little Therese was diagnosed the hospital didn’t have any insulin so he had to go out to the pharmacy to buy it himself. It was very expensive.

He had to borrow money from friends and family and sell some of their belongings to afford the insulin and supplies she needed. It would be impossible for him to give her this medicine every day.

Diabetes knowledge is generally very limited in Rwanda, even among health professionals.
Dangerous misconceptions are often repeated as fact.

Therese’s father thought that her diabetes had been brought on because he had given her too much sugar. He felt so guilty and confused, “I never gave her a lot of sugar, so it was very hard.”

Among the pain, misinformation and worry the hospital gave Therese’s father one piece of life-saving information.

They told him to visit the Life for a Child partner center. At the center, Therese’s dad found a sanctuary. A place where they understood that he hadn’t given Therese too much sugar and knew how to make his little girl healthy again.

Most importantly, thanks to donations from people like you, the center was able to provide Therese with a regular supply of insulin, syringes, a blood glucose meter and test strips and HbA1c testing.

Today, both Mireille and Therese attend the Life for a Child partner center each month to collect their insulin and supplies and have regular checkups. This support means that they can stay in school and Mireille can continue to study History, her favorite subject. Please make a donation below to ensure Life for a Child can continue to provide Mireille and Therese with life-saving insulin and supplies."

This is just one story out of the 21,000 young people Life For a Child supports. But with those young people spanning 42 countries, and needing our help to survive, you can only imagine how many other stories can be told.

"No child should die of diabetes." It’s the truth. Where you are born should not dictate whether you should live or die with diabetes. We all deserve to live.

You can make a donation here: