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An Interview with My Friend, Demarco.

The Interviews at SUM

My friend Demarco from Australia has returned for another visit at Six Until Me, and this time he brought his new hypo-dog friend Chino!  Fresh from Australia's Paws for Diabetics, Chino and Demarco are taking care of each other and having some fun.  Demarco and his mom, Kate, spent some time with me and gave me a glimpse into their diabetes lives. 

Kerri:    Can you tell me about when you were diagnosed with diabetes?

Demarco:  I was only 23 months when I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. I don't remember much about it, but some of the bad things I will never forget. I had these terrible pains in my legs and tummy, and because I couldn't tell Mum, she couldn't help me. I just screamed at her, the only times I stopped screaming was for water. I also remember getting my nappy changed a lot. I remember Mum taking me to a new doctor, and he did a prick on my toe. A little after that, my Mum screamed, and cried and she couldn't even walk to the car. The doctor had to take her to the car and my Dad had to drive. She was shaking a lot too. The strange thing was that I stopped crying and screaming for the first time in days because I finally knew that SHE knew that there was something seriously wrong with me, and she was going to get me help. She hugged me tight, and I clutched on to her long red hair, because it made me feel safe. I remember 4 men with stethoscopes trying to hold me down to put a huge needle in my arm, and looking at my Mum and wondering why she wasn't stopping them. Whenever I hear the song 'Tomorrow', from the musical, Annie, I think of hospital too. My Mum used to sing it to me when I had to have an injection or a fingerprick, but instead of singing, 'The sun will come out, tomorrow,' she changed the word to ' Demarco.'  I remember there was lot  of Winnie the Pooh and Tigger stuff given to me. I have a strange feeling when I see Winnie the Pooh now.

Kerri:    I know you’ve had some very cool experiences as a diabetes advocate – can you tell me Demarco and his hypo-dog pal, Chino.about your favorite one?

Demarco:  Since I have been fundraising, I have now made in total $5500 for JDRF Australia. The best thing that has ever happened from being an advocate is that a lady from Sydney rang my Mum and asked if  I would like to go an event called 'Kids in the House', where 100 other kids with Type 1 got together to tell politicians just how much we all need a cure. It was a pretty serious event, but the best thing was that I got to play basketball with the Australian Sydney Olympians at the Australian Institute of Sport.  I met one player, also with Type 1 Diabetes. He told me that I was the bravest kid he ever met.(I felt my ears go red.)  He said when he was diagnosed at 7, he was horrible to his parents, he used to steal lollies out of the cupboard and lie about his readings. He even said he hated himself. It wasn't 'til he became good at basketball that he realised that Diabetes could stop him at nothing. He changed his life completely. He shook my hand, and introduced me to the team. They lifted me up high in the air, and one guy tried to slam dunk me! The other cool thing was John Howard walked past our table, and I said to Mum' Wow! He looks like George Costanza from Seinfeld!!) I thought world leaders would be big and powerful. Mr. Howard looks like a grandad with caterpillar eyebrows!!! He DOES know a lot about Type 1 Diabetes though, and he is very passionate about finding us a cure. So I guess he is a pretty decent guy then. He’s just very small!

Kerri:  You and your mom are a good team and you work together to manage your diabetes.  Do you have other friends with diabetes?

Demarco:  I have met lots of people with Type 1 Diabetes. When older people find out that I am a diabetic, they sometimes say that I will grow out of it, or I should cut back on sugar. This hurts my feelings,but I am getting better with it now. I have my best American friend, Brendon, who is my penfriend, and I have met lots of kids who are a bit older than me who are great to talk to. There is nothing like talking to someone who has diabetes, because they walk in your shoes. My mum is a mentor to a girl named Jelly, and she is probably my best girl friend. She goes to high school, but we are on the same insulin, and we both feel the same way about having diabetes. I really like her a lot. She is really, really pretty too.

Kerri:    Being diabetic means there will be some low blood sugars sometimes.  I heard that you recently added a new friend to your diabetes team – Chino!  Can you tell me about your new friend?

Demarco:  Chino is a 4 month old pure bred whippet. He is the best thing that has ever happened Demarco and Chino have a cuddle.to me. He goes everywhere with me. The law says that he can go everywhere except an operating theatre of a restaurant kitchen. We have cool ID Cards with our pictures on them. He has picked up so many hypos before they turn dangerous. He has a few different ways of alerting. He will either nudge my chin and whine like he is crying, he will  howl like a dingo, he will jump up on Mum and start biting her jewelry or her collar, or he will bite my fingers, and won't stop when I say 'no.' If he does any of these things, we test, and each time, I have had a problem with my blood sugar that I wouldn’t have known about until much later when I started feeling sick. I have had less hypos. It's such a good feeling not to feel that way all the time. I am a happier boy now! Chino came to me because my Mum got in contact with a lady from a company called 'Paws for Diabetics.' She has matched up dogs with people all over Australia and their lives have improved, as well as having a new friend! When he gets older, he will be even better at his job. His sense of smell is 500 times better than ours, so he is able to detect when my sugar levels are changing through sweat. He has all the same rights as a guide dog. As he is so friendly, he has to do a lot of training so that when we are out, he is totally focused only on me. I can't imagine life without him now. I used to only like cats, and there were three breeds that can detect hypo attacks. A Chinese Crested (it has no fur except a tuft on his head-a little creepy) A Shetland Sheepdog, (too big and lots of fur to look after) and that left a whippet. I kept thinking that he would look like the dog off the Simpsons, Santa's Little Helper! He doesn't though. He is beautiful, and he cares for me so much.

Kerri:    Aside from doing things to raise awareness about diabetes, what other things do you like to do? 

Demarco:  I really am into Yugi-Oh Collector Cards, I guess because I can speak a bit of Japanese, and I like Anime cartoons. I am also doing pretty well at karate now that I have swapped insulin. (I am on Novorapid and Levemir). I love hanging out with my Mum, she is a good teacher, and she sure knows how to look after people with Diabetes! I just love talking to people, Kerri. They don't have to be six, they can be 30, or 80 or 13, just as long as they have a good heart and treat themselves and me with respect. I want to be a good swimmer too, so when it gets warm again, I will start swimming again. (When I was on Protophane, I couldn't do many sports. I was always hypo even after loads of carbs and less insulin.)

Kerri:    Demarco, if you could ride around in a hot-air balloon, what would you want to fly over? 
Demarco:  If I got to go in a Hot Air Balloon, I would probably wanna check out Heaven, just to say hello to my Uncle Paul, and my Grandmother. I would ask my uncle if he could use some heaven magic to keep my eyes and kidneys well. I would want to say hi to Jesus and the angels too. Oh, and the Artic Circle, so that I could spy on Santa, to see what he's got in store for me this Xmas. (I have been pretty good for the first half of the year!)

Kerri:  Thanks, Demarco!  Enjoy your new friend!


He's precious!! What a great interview!

This guy is AMAZING! :D

He is the most well-spoken kid I've ever heard. Kerri I think it is wonderful that you do this sort of thing. The world needs more people like you in it.

I love this post. As a grandfather of a four year old boy and a two year old girl I can only imagine the difficulty of sensing low blood sugars with a child. I wasn't a T1 until I was 34 so I've never had to experience that challenge. My general practitioner has two young sons with diabetes. I need to check with him to see if he’s looked into a guide dog for his boys. For children, this is better than CGM. Now I have to hide this from my wife. She will want a pet to follow me around. I have kept my A1c’s in the high fours for years and I have a lot of lows. Not so low that I can’t treat but enough to concern my wife. If she knew a pet could sense the lows, we’d be getting one tomorrow. Can’t afford the CGM supplies so she’d love the pet.

Thank you for your work.

This was an awesome interview...one that Brendon will enjoy too. He loves being penpals with Demarco.

I'm a big time lurker, and check out your site everyday...

This interview is the perfect example of what keeps me coming back

You have a remarkable gift for inspiring and entertaining all at the same time

Just amazing!

I only wish I could express my thoughts and write as well as Denarco.

Caterpillar eyebrows?

Checking out heaven and spying on Santa in a hot-air balloon.

Love it.

I'm sorry, but I'm having some doubts about the dogs ability to predict lows at just 4 months. I have been a foster puppey raiser for several years and trained several assist dogs, and they seldom have this ability for several years. Hate to be a wet blanket.

What an amazing and articulate child!

Renting a hot air balloon... $500

Spying on Santa and meeting angels and family in Heaven...

This was adorable! I tried to read it out loud to my husband, but kept having to stop to hold back the tears. He's a great kid. Thanks for sharing this.

What and interesting and beautiful site. It popped out at me amongst the other candidates on the Blogger's Choice Awards website because it didn't have to do with weight loss. I think this meaningful blog deserves more representation. By adding a Brag Badge it is easy to aquire more votes and more notirity. You can find the code on the same page where people can go to
vote for this site . Best of luck with all your endeavors!

I wonder how he differentiates between sweat from a low and sweat from the child running around or getting hot outside or in a hot car...

Hi Bren

I too, was very sceptical about Chino being able to perform as soon as he did. We had a witness who was non affliated with Paws for Diabetics who witnessed Chino's first alert.OK...it could have been a coincidence.I made sure to keep an open mind and not cling on to something that was not really happening. That all changed when we travelled to Sydney, when Chino was literally on top of Demarco in the bed, pawing him, whining and howling. I woke up (as I only sleep a few hours a night) to find Demarco's brow slicked with sweat, his colour was terrible, and he was cculdn't get out of the bed. He was an absolute mess, and if it wasn't for Chino, I would have kept on sleeping, as it was 6am in the morning. This dog has been exposed to bsl tests (Chino, work!") insulin injections (Chino, work!)and he knows that Demarco's diabetes bag is vital to going out and about. He always has his snout in it. Another incident was whilst we were in a DVD store,Demarco always runs around like a lunatic looking for titles. Chino was in his crate with me. He was thrashing himself inside the cage and whining so loudly that the store manager came over. Demarco didn't even read feel hypo, but certainly read it.We even double checked. After we got some juice into him, Chino curled up in his crate and went to sleep. There are about 30 dogs in Australia, probably more now, that are performing as alert dogs, and are all blitzing the hypo phenomenon. If you care to look up pfd@org.au there is a lot of amazing info about how smart these dogs are. At the same time, you obviously know a lot about dogs, so I appreciate ur concerns. Amazingly, CHino's batteries do work, and he has made my life so much easier. He is so smart,and since we adopted him, he has basically lived the life of a T1 Diabetic. THe lady who started the organisation had her life saved as her dog literally drew blood and hassled her out so much that she found herself next to the fridge knocking back soft drink. Without her dog's intervention, she would nave died. One last thing..Chino has also picked up a low reading in a Type 2 Diabetic who was a stranger. We were at a dinner party, and CHino growled at her, fully showing teeth. I was really embarrassed and appalled as he has never behaved in that manner before. When the lady got home, her reading was 3.6mmol. No symptoms, but Chino abviously detected something.

HI Maura

Thanks for your enquiry!A Type 1 Endo here in Brisbane has been doing research for a long time about the use of dogs assisting Diabetics. He has tested many theories,and is certain that when the body begins to fall into a hypoglycaemic state, an enzyme is released that a dog can detect, and recognise, ESPECIALLY if the bond between owner and pup is there. In the beginning, no one was allowed to touch Chino except Demarco, and he even had to go to the toilet with him! He was to be carried everywhere. It got to the point where if Demarco put Chino down, he would cry and yelp and be dashing about the house looking for him. They truly are kindred spirits. Demarco feeds him, takes him outside to go the toilet. The two of them have crazy games of soccer together and as it is freezing in Oz at the moment, the sweat issue isn't a problem. However,in Sydney, we went to a Museum and the air con was soooo hot...we were all sweating. I kept a v close eye on bsl that day, and it was fine, and there were no peeps out of Chino. I guess after having a baby who has had hundreds of hypos and a few very near calls, if Chino is a miracle, then we deserve it. Life was miserable the way it was.

Thank you to everyone who read this blog. Big thanks from my heart to Kerri,who is so precious to me. Even thought we have never met, I can imagine why her new husband (haha) loves her and wants to be with her. I feel really special to be able to have had an interview with her. Arigatto Gozaimashita Kerri. (Translation: Thank you so much for everyting you have done for me.)

your dog is so cute and i love Arlinn Booth if you know hem he is so so so so HOT AND SEXY

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