Wednesday, February 11, 2009

JDRF Research Symposium

Sorry for the lack of posts in the past week or so...

I am looking forward to attending the JDRF Research Symposium here in Moncton on Thursday, February 12th. I am presenting one of the invited guests - Jason Turner. Here is my presentation speech:

Good evening! My wife Michèle and I are very passionate about being involved in any way that we can to help find a cure for diabetes and we are very moved to be part of this event tonight.

Our daughter Adèle was very sick in the summer of 2002. She started losing weight in the spring. She also had no energy and never wanted to play like other kids her age. After many tests and doctor visits, she was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I was also diagnosed with Celiac disease as well one month later. Then, one month after this, in October on Halloween day, 2002, Adèle was diagnosed with Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes at the age of 2 ½ years old. Our world had been turned upside down. From that point on, our life has been a constant battle trying to balance her food intake and insulin while trying to maintain as normal a life as possible.

Adèle gets her blood sugar checked between 10 and 15 times a day and sometimes as much as 20 times if she is sick with a cold or a flu. She gets her insulin via her insulin pump. We change her pump infusion site every 3 days or more often if her sugars are high. She also sometimes gets insulin injections via syringe if her sugars are high before we change her pump infusion site to ensure she gets the full insulin dose to lower a high blood sugar. Since Adèle is terrified of the long needle that needs to be inserted under her skin when changing her infusion site, we apply a topical anesthetic cream on the skin in order to make the site change less painful. My wife Michèle gets up AT LEAST once each night to check her sugar to make sure she doesn't go low. Adele almost never wakes up when she goes low. It is a rude awakening to find Adèle’s sugar in the 2’s or even in the 1’s in the middle of the night scrambling to wake her up so she can eat some much needed fast-acting sugar.

Adèle is currently in grade 3. She is an only child and talks about becoming either a doctor or a teacher when she grows up. To Adèle, a cure would mean no more needles, no more mood swings because of blood sugar fluctuations, being able to eat what and when she wants like her friends, being able to go to sleepovers and simply being a normal 8 year old kid.

To us as parents, a cure would be a dream come true! A cure would mean peace of mind that Adèle won’t have an insulin reaction when we’re not there to keep an eye on her and to be able to stop worrying about long term complications. A cure would mean a much needed relief from the constant emotional, physical and financial strain caused by Diabetes. Juvenile Diabetes is a very, very complex disease to manage for an educated adult, which is why we are terrified of giving her this HUGE responsibility in a few years.

Since the Type 1 diagnosis, we have gone through the usual mourning phases: shock, then disbelief, anger and asking “why us?”. After all this, the next logical step would be acceptance, but we choose not to accept the current available treatments as Adele’s life sentence. This is what drives us to do all that we can to help find something better for Adele and all others living with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s what motivates us to participate in the Walk for a Cure each year, to keep pedaling my bike in our annual Mike’s Bike Shop Cyclebetes 200 ride, to meet with our local MP as part of the JDRF Kids for a Cure awareness week, to continue to raise Type 1 awareness and support JDRF’s mission. A cure for Type 1 diabetes is out there just waiting to be discovered and JDRF is the vehicle that will enable this to happen before it’s too late for Adele and all others living with Type 1.

Moving on to our next guest speaker, it my pleasure to introduce Jason Turner. Jason was the 79th person in Canada to be accepted into the world famous Islet Transplant program at the University of Alberta Hospital. Driven by a passion for helping people with diabetes, Jason started Edmonton's first support group for people with diabetes in hopes of helping others avoid the complications he has had to face. He has become a much sought after speaker on the ravages of diabetes. Jason successfully completed a diploma in Library Technology and Information Management from Grant MacEwan, and is a skilled researcher, able to find answers to most any question. His main passion continues to be helping people with diabetes, a challenge that he gladly faces and considers every day. Please join me in welcoming Jason Turner.

1 comment:

Jason said...

It was a great intro Mike!