Canadian parents know fall means two big things: back to school and the start of hockey season. We’re elbow deep in juggling homework, paperwork, and practices. We’re up early to the rink, back early to pick the kids up from school, and keeping track of all the things.
Now toss diabetes into that mix and see how you do.
More than 34,000 Canadian children under the age of 19 live with type 1 diabetes, that’s 1 in every 300 students or a few kids per school and more than a few kids per minor hockey association. There is no known cause or cure and it is usually diagnosed in childhood.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease where the body is unable to produce insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. T1D kids (and their parents) must count carbs, measure their exercise, and inject insulin on their own to replicate what a healthy pancreas would do.
It’s hard for a kid to pay attention in school let alone learn how to think like a pancreas.
I’m so glad they have someone like the Arizona Coyotes‘ Max Domi to look up to.
Max was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 12, and the first question he asked his doctor was “will I still get to play hockey?” He did, and he does. As kids head back to school and minor hockey this fall, Max will be starting his 3rd NHL season.
Max is such a hero to T1D kids, joining Ascensia Diabetes Care to surprise a gang of them at D-Camp Camp Discovery this summer speaking about living with diabetes and offering helpful ways to manage the disease.
D-Camps are places where kids can go and feel normal for a week. They are summer camps where kids are surrounded by other T1D kids (and counselors) and can find support in the diabetes management while also escaping and having a chance to just be a kid.
Max inspired the kids and showed them living with diabetes is not a barrier to success and should never stand in the way of reaching for the stars and accomplishing dreams.
Domi credits Bobby Clarke, the Hall of Famer (and Type 1 diabetic) he met as a kid, as the reason he is so committed to helping others. “Bobby took the time to — literally it was a minute and a half to two minutes out of his day — to just talk to me,” Domi told The Sporting News. “If I could do a fraction of what (Clarke) did for me and my family, then I think I’m doing a pretty good job so I try and reach out to as many people as possible.”
Now, as the kids have his ringing inspiration in their ears, the routine of fall is settling in. The time spent with peers and medical professionals hopefully giving them (and their families) the confidence to manage diabetes on their own. But it still takes a team.
There are no consistent policies or guidelines to protect students with type 1 diabetes in all provinces. Currently Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba lag behind. This means parents have to give up work to look after their kids, or live with the anxiety and hope that their children are being cared for properly by someone else.
“Everybody has to be in the loop. Everyone wants to help you and it makes your job easier to getting to where you want to be,” Domi says. “The team I built around me is second to none, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
The hardest part about trusting other people to look after your kids is trusting they will know what to do and understand the results. That’s where a device like the CONTOUR® NEXT ONE meter and CONTOUR® Diabetes App can help.
The new CONTOUR® NEXT ONE meter features smartLIGHT technology to quickly indicate if a reading is above, below or within target range to help people with diabetes better manage their condition. The technology displays a green screen for normal blood sugar levels, yellow for high and red for low.
This makes it easier for children, teachers, coaches, and everyone who plays a role in the team of people it takes to manage diabetes to help.
The system also features a wireless-enabled smart meter that links to a mobile device via Bluetooth to see results on the CONTOUR® Diabetes App.
Back to school and back to routine can be a stressful time for all of us. The complications that diabetes throw into the mix just make it that much more to handle. This is why diabetes awareness matters so much to me. I don’t have diabetes, my kids don’t have it (knock wood), but I’ve learned enough about it that if one of their peers have the disease, I can help if I need to.
It takes a village, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, the cliches are endless, but they all circle back to having a little bit of empathy. Clarke had it for Domi, Domi has it for the kids, let’s pitch in and help too.
“I have been living with diabetes for almost my entire life and thanks to my family, healthcare
professionals and the right tools, I have never let diabetes stand in the way of crushing my goals,”
says Domi. “I want all Canadians – adults and kids – living with diabetes to feel empowered to
take control and not let diabetes be a barrier to their success.”
This post is sponsored by Ascensia