Seven-year-old Nicholas Steed doesn’t have a problem showing the pump hooked to his belt that allows insulin to be continuously injected into his system.
“It’s better than having syringes,” Nicholas says calmly.
His five-year-old brother Cameron doesn’t flinch when a lancet pokes his finger allowing his blood sugar level to be checked for one of many times during the day.
“We do this all the time,” Cameron says with a shy smile.
Needles and monitors and trips to the doctor are just a part of life for the two brothers, both of whom were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes before the age of two.
But watch them run around the yard, jump on the trampoline and play with their other two siblings—three year-old Lucas and 22-month-old Abby—and you can’t tell them from any other kid.
“They are so great,” says mom April Steed. “They were both diagnosed when they were one so they haven’t known anything else.”
While the insulin pumps the boys wear allow for a continuous supply of insulin, the fact that they are kids makes monitoring their disease even tougher.
Things like physical activity, periods of growth and stress all make controlling blood sugar levels that much more difficult.
“It’s harder now that they’re outside a lot and they are active and running around and burning a lot more sugars,” says April.
“It’s hard not to have the freedom to be able to let your kids jump on the trampoline and not worry about their blood sugars. Or someone is having a birthday party and they can’t have piece of cake.”
The six member Steed family, along with a healthy throng of their supporters, will be out next weekend at the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes (see sidebar below for details).
It’s a chance to help raise money to help in the search for a cure for type 1 diabetes, something that is near and dear to the family’s heart.
This will be the fifth year the Steeds have taken part in the annual event.
“Just to see other families that do the same things that we do everyday, just to know we are all there fighting for the same thing makes all the difference,” April says.
“I was as uneducated as the next person before this happened to us. But now we are trying to bring as much awareness to the issue as we can.”
Having siblings suffering from type 1 diabetes is fairly rare as is having type 1 diagnosed at a very young age.
For the Steed family, being thrown into the fight against diabetes changed their lives drastically.
And not just for the worse. Fighting the disease is making them closer and stronger.
“It’s life,” says April. “It’s neat to watch their relationship grow. They both have diabetes so they are going through it together.
“They hold each other’s hands when we (attach the pump and site). Even the younger two hold their hands. It’s our life.
“It’s a huge bonding thing for them. I think it will make them stronger and more compassionate.
“There are days when they say they don’t want diabetes but we talk it through.
“I always say you have to accept it and you have to keep fighting for the cure.”
You can help fight for the cure for type 1 diabetes by donating to the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.
There is information online at www.jdrf.ca/walk or you can call 1-877-CURE-533.