A Parent’s Perspective on Diabetes: Fiona’s Story
2021 marks the 100th year anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Without this innovation, neither my sister nor my daughter would be alive today. I am so very grateful to each scientist, clinician and trainee of the BC Diabetes Research Network for your work supporting people living with diabetes.
My daughter Fiona was diagnosed with type one diabetes when she was 5. She didn’t seem sick; I took her to the doctor to get her immunizations and briefly mentioned she was feeling thirsty and tired all the time. I should have known – my sister was also diagnosed at age five – but I didn’t.
Later that afternoon, I received a call telling me to take Fiona to the Emergency Room at Children’s Hospital, and I remember grabbing a table for support as my knees buckled. I didn’t know how much diabetes technology and research had advanced over the past 30 years. Instead, all I could think about was my sister growing up: stories of her passing out; often fighting to take much-needed sugar during lows; testing her blood glucose using urine strips; painful jabs and red welts on her skin – a common reaction from
the insulin used at the time.
Living with diabetes is easier today, and Fiona does not face the struggles my sister did in the 1970s, but the fears for her long-term health remain the same.
Today, Fiona is 20 years old and living on her own. The improvements in technology have made a significant difference in her life and yet she still dreams of a future without diabetes.
Several years ago, I worked as the Regional Director of Diabetes Canada in BC, and have since moved on to launch my own business working with not-for-profit groups – including the BC Diabetes Research Network. I am so very proud to play a small role supporting the Network and I very much look forward to learning about the projects you are working on to enhance the lives of people living with diabetes.
On behalf of my sister Angela, my daughter Fiona and everyone living with or affected by diabetes – thank you so incredibly much for all you do.