Youth ambassador urges Kelowna businesses to support diabetes walk
A room full of businessmen and women were all ears on Thursday afternoon as 13-year-old Nicholas Wall shared his story of life with type 1 diabetes.
Wall, along with other speakers, were on hand to share information and testimonies while attempting to gain support for the 2012 Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes, which will take place at Mission Park Greenway in Kelowna on June 10.
Corporate partners who have supported the walk through the years learned about how their effort has positively impacted the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Wall started his story by explaining that he was two-years-old when he was first diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
"I don't remember much about that day, but I had to spend a week in the hospital so that they could figure out my insulin doses and teach my parents how to look after me," said Wall.
"I had to have my blood sugar tested about 10 times a day by poking my fingers with a lancet. I didn't mind that much, but I really didn't like getting the needles, which I got three times a day for my insulin.
"I used to try and run away and hide before I understood I had to have them—it was a lot of work for my mom."
Wall explained that he had to eat breakfast and lunch at very specific times to help keep his glucose levels under control.
"If I wanted a special treat or extra snack, I had to have another needle," he said.
Wall noted that life with type 1 diabetes got even more challenging when he entered school.
"When I started school, my mom had to come in every day at lunch to give me my insulin and check my blood sugar. The teachers sometimes called her to come to the school if my blood sugar was too low or too high."
He summed up some of the challenges that are associated with having type 1 diabetes.
"Having diabetes means always watching what you eat, testing your blood sugar eight to 10 times a day, having to worry about blood sugar when you're doing sports, worrying about blood sugar at night or if you're sick, (going to) doctors appointments, (getting) blood tests and making sure you have snacks and diabetes supplies with you wherever you go."
Wall mentioned that these types of challenges will likely follow him into adulthood; however, he is optimistic that JDRF is on the road to finding a cure.
"If there was a cure, it'd be nice not to have to think about (diabetes) all the time. Our family supports JDRF because they fund scientific research that is getting us closer to a cure.
"Before we get there, JDRF (is also) doing research to find ways to help me live a healthier life: Better insulin, insulin pumps, better care for complications I may have with my health and better ways to test how well I'm controlling my blood sugar."
Dr. Jeffrey Matthews followed Wall's speech by teaching those in attendance how close JDRF has come towards finding a cure, adding that he believes a cure could come within his lifetime.
Wall, Matthews and other speakers at the event urged people to get behind the 2012 Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.
"JDRF is steps away from the cure. This year at the walk, let's help them take those steps," said Wall.
The fundraising goal for this year's walk is $130,000.
For more information about the 2012 Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes, contact Pam Prentice at 250-765-7711 or email@example.com.