on June 23, 2015 by test_editor in WEB-EXTRA content, Comments Off on Web-extra (June 25, 2015): Katie’s Walk; Teaching the Facts about Diabetes.

Web-extra (June 25, 2015): Katie’s Walk; Teaching the Facts about Diabetes.

Web-extra (June 25, 2015): Katie’s Walk;
Teaching the Facts about Diabetes.

By Anna Borris.

At twelve years old, Katie is a hard working organizer and educator who lives with Type 1 diabetes. Recently she developed a plan to raise awareness about this chronic condition by holding a walk at school. Even though there was no cooperation from the weather on June 8th, the entire student population of Hilson Avenue Public School participated in Katie’s Walk. The older students walked outside when the rain held off and inside when it rained. The kindergartners walked in the schoolyard. Distances varied by the ages of the students. Katie received enormous support from her teachers and the principal at school to set this up, and also from the twenty parent volunteers who helped out. The timing of this event led up to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation “Walk for the Cure” which took place on June 14 in Queen Juliana Park.

Katie’s motivation to create this awareness is partly due to the fact that it is very rare to have more than one child per school with Type 1 diabetes. The facts surrounding the disease are not always well known to others. She has prepared an informative presentation which she has shown to every class at Hilson. The kindergarten classes asked the most questions about Katie’s life with diabetes. She included a video explaining her story, which has a strong, upbeat, hopeful message. In the video, she explains about insulin injections, (although now she has an insulin pump) and how she pokes her fingers ten to twelve times a day to test her blood. She carries supplies such as apple juice, granola bars and dextrose tablets at all times, in case her sugar goes too low, particularly during exercise. Her video shows that, even though “diabetes sucks”, with careful management she can participate in the sports she loves. In fact, six months after her diagnosis she became a cheerleader, a very strenuous sport which she continues to enjoy, as well as playing volleyball at school.

Katie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in Grade three. She began to develop symptoms such as extreme tiredness, excessive thirst, and weight loss. Initially it seemed as though she was suffering from a bout of the flu, but gradually her condition worsened to the point where she was almost in a coma and her blood sugar level was extremely high. When her parents took her to CHEO, to their shock, she was diagnosed as having diabetes. CHEO provides training to children and parents about administering insulin, problems to watch for and provides general information regarding management of diabetes. There is a diabetes clinic at the hospital as well, where Katie is followed up every three months. The teachers and principal at Hilson Avenue Public have been given training regarding diabetes management by Katie’s family and there is a binder available to staff with necessary information.

This year, Katie will take an active role with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. She hopes to continue to raise awareness about Type 1 diabetes when she changes schools this fall, and has considered a career as an educator in this field. She is a dynamic powerhouse, and the walk at Hilson has given her a strong start toward this goal.

7 students on stage behind individual handmade signs saying Hilson Diabetes Awareness Walk jdrf.ca Walk for a Cure!

Stage of Awareness

Photo Caption: Hilson students take to the stage to teach others the facts about diabetes.

Girl with boxes of handy foods good for diabetics needing sugar

Sweet Preparations

Photo Caption: Packing Emergency Sugar supplies for diabetes.

Collage of 5 photos of activity and friends helping Katie.

Show of Support

Photo Caption: Katie’s walk participants and Katie’s supporters including Principal Lisa Clayton and Teacher Ms. Lee. All photos provided through Raquel Nevins.

[Ed: to learn more about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation visit http://www.jdrf.ca ]

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