Louisa emailed JDRF this weekend with this lovely story of how she and her son Henry marked National Diabetes Awareness Week last week. It was such a heart-warming and inspirational story that we had to share it straight away!
My son Henry was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in January this year at the age of 8. He turned 9 in May and is doing quite well, although I think we may still be in the honeymoon phase.
On Wednesday night last week, I explained to Henry that it was National Diabetes Awareness Week, where we will see lots of advertising promoting awareness. He said “Wow mum, that’s great. We should have a party to celebrate and create awareness and raise money for research to find a cure”. So me, holding back tears said, why not!
We asked 100 of our family and friends to join us at the park on Sunday. We had a donation box, and Henry made some flyers explaining about his new daily life with type 1 diabetes – all the blood tests, the injections and also talked about some of the myths surrounding type 1 diabetes. He had nearly 80 people turn up, all of whom put money in the box and bought a nut-free plate of food (Henry suffers from anaphylaxis). He handed his little posters out to everyone, and I supplied sausages, beer, wine, water, and juice.
We contacted JDRF, and a lovely lady named Anna supplied us with lots of pens, pins, badges and bags of jelly babies to offer around. We also had research papers from her on our display table, so people knew what they are donating to.
Henry raised over $1315 on the day, with more on the way from people who couldn’t make it. I had promised him I’d match what he raised, not thinking he would raise that much! I will definitely keep my promise to him, and together we will go in to JDRF in Brisbane and hand over what will probably exceed $3000.
He has written a letter to JDRF which almost made me cry. He has made me very proud. I have spent 28 years not speaking to a soul about my own type 1 diabetes journey, not turning to anyone and feeling very alone with it. I have hated this thing since I was 14. Henry is changing me. He is so resilient, capable and wise for his age. When I told him that in my life I’d had over 71,300 injections of insulin his jaw dropped and just said wow! Finger prick tests, well there are too many to fathom calculating, but it would be much more.
A kid like Henry can be an inspiration to other newly diagnosed boys and girls his age. He is only 9. He represents his school so well as he deals with this in his daily life. He’s also teaching his very supportive brother and sister (Ben, 7 and Leah, 4) how to manage his diabetes, and they are by his side every step of the way.
I say to him all the time, “Henry, you were a kid first, type 1 diabetes comes second, let’s keep it that way.” And I tell him how proud I am to be his Mum and how much I love him. My husband Brent is absolutely unconditional in his support of our condition. He is our rock.
Henry wants the money raised to go towards the search for a cure. Maybe, just maybe, his efforts will help find a cure for both him and me.
And here’s the lovely letter that Henry wrote to JDRF.
Hi my name is Henry and I have type 1 diabetes and it’s hard to manage doing blood tests and needles. So soon I am going to get a Medtronic pump. On Sunday afternoon I had a party to create awareness of type 1 diabetes for National Diabetes Week, and to raise money to help find a cure for type 1 diabetes. I raised $1317.30 for type 1 diabetes and mum and dad said they would match the $1317.30 and I am going to pass this money onto JDRF.
Thank you Louisa for sharing this story with us, and for fostering such a fantastic positive spirit in Henry! Henry, thank you for your very generous donation to JDRF and your inspirational dedication to raising awareness of type 1 diabetes!