On December 6th, 2013 at 4pm, my son Oliver was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 6. On that day, our lives changed forever. A little bit of his childhood was taken away and from then on he had to live with responsibilities no 6 year old should have. I will not talk about T1D and its effects here as I believe anyone reading this will already understand. What I will talk about however, is that T1D is always deadly if not diagnosed, or if it is not treated with insulin multiple times per day.
In my mis-spent youth, I was fortunate enough to live in America for a while, Oliver’s diagnosis came not long after returning from another extended visit to Wisconsin. In the months following diagnosis, I would be up at night; upset, alone, feeling isolated and to some extent, grieving for a time when the simple things in life were more carefree for us. I began to wonder what would have happened had Oliver been diagnosed whilst we were in America, or what his future would be like if we lived in a country without an NHS. I researched online and here is what I learnt.
I learnt . . .
I learnt that over 50% of people worldwide who need to use insulin do not have regular, affordable and/or sustainable access to it.
I learnt that when children are diagnosed in the developing world, many do not survive until their next birthday.
I learnt that many parents of a T1 child have to chose between paying rent or paying for insulin.
I learnt that many parents, whilst grieving, are also relieved when their child with T1D dies as the financial burden and social stigma are also relieved.
I learnt that many children are missing from the statistics as they die before they have the chance to be diagnosed, their families fearing the cost of a consultation with a Doctor.
I learnt that parents leave their child to die as they know there is no way they can afford to raise an insulin dependent child.
I learnt that parents in India face having to chose which child should die; one from lack of insulin, or their other child from lack of food & shelter as they are unable to afford all.
I learnt that many children with T1 in the developing world wish that they had HIV/AIDS instead, as this is what the humanitarian agencies concentrate on with their relief efforts.
I learnt that many children drop out of school after diagnosis, even though the need to succeed in life is greater than ever.
I learnt that many families do not have anywhere to keep insulin chilled.
I learnt that the heat in India regularly exceeds 45c.
I learnt that the stigma of diabetes often causes divorce.
I learnt that divorced women in India are as socially outcasted.
I learnt that 90% of people needing help buying insulin are female, even though T1D affects equal numbers of males v females.
I learnt that females with diabetes often remain single as no man will marry them due to the financial burden.
I learnt that there is something I can do to help.
I learnt about The Pendsey Trust and
I learnt about the amazing work they do in India to save the lives of children and young people living with diabetes.
I learnt that The Pendsey Trust improve the life chances of these people living with diabetes.
I learnt that I can sponsor a child in India and help someone like Oliver have the same chances at a healthy and successful life.
I learnt that The Pendsey Trust do not discriminate, they offer assistance to anyone with diabetes who needs it.
I learnt many other organisations have upper age limits and leave a young person unsupported and without sustainable sources of funding their care upon reaching adulthood.
I learnt that The Pendsey Trust fund educational opportunities to enable all diabetics to become independent with their medical costs.
I learnt that some young people are given business start up grants & advice to enable them to become self sufficient.
I learnt that all the work The Pendsey Trust do helps to break down the burden diabetes introduces, reducing the stigma.
I learnt that recipients of The Pendsey Trust funds are self sufficient after the funding is withdrawn, so there is no longer a need for it.
I learnt that young people in India can be supported to not let diabetes get in the way of achieving their dreams.
I learnt that people with diabetes in India can live a happy and healthy life.
I learnt that people with diabetes in India can contribute a lot to society, if given the chance.
I learnt that just £16 a month will save a child’s life, whilst they prepare to become independent young adults.
I learnt that just £10 sends a child to school for a term.
I learnt that as little as £5 can cover the costs of starting a retail business.
I learnt that £40 buys a goat, enabling a young man with T1D to become a goat farmer.
I learnt that £70 can buy a sewing machine that enables a young person to start a tailoring business.
I learnt that £150 pays for vocational college.
I learnt that every penny donated to The Pendsey Trust gets through to where it is needed in India.
I learnt that The Pendsey Trust has no admin costs as they are run by passionate volunteers who donate their time.
I learnt that charities need donations of time as well as money.
I learnt that diabetes is life threatening, but it does not have to be a death sentence.
What can you do this World Diabetes Day to enable a young person living with Type 1 in India?
To donate: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/joannefox40for40
To enquire about fundraising or volunteering with us email email@example.com
This is truest astounding. I have been wondering for a while how I can help the world be a better place and I think this program might be it. I’m glad you brought this deep need to our attention
Thanks Rachel,you can help by liking our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/thependseytrust and sharing our posts/website in any diabetes communities. Of course, donations are also greatly appreciated as they support our work in the field, the link is at the bottom of the blog post. Why not host a fundraiser for us? It can be as simple as a non uniform day at work, or similar.