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Posts tagged ‘support for siblings’

Guest Post: My Sister Has Diabetes

A diabetes diagnosis doesn’t just affect the life of the person who is diagnosed … diabetes, for better or for worse, is a family affair.  I didn’t think about the influence of diabetes on my siblings until I was older, and I wish we has talked about it at home more.  Which is exactly why I’m honored to host a guest post from Grace Rooney, who wrote a book from the perspective of the sibling of a PWD.  Read more about why she wrote her book and how you can grab a copy of your own!

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Hi guys, my name is Grace, and I’m excited to be a guest blogger for Six Until Me. I have an older sister, Paige, with type 1 diabetes who was diagnosed 17 years ago.

Growing up, I was aware of carbohydrates, blood sugars, and insulin, things other kids my age didn’t have any idea about. My parents’ attention was often turned towards my sister, and I was left feeling confused and scared. My parents and my sister had a lot of resources to help them navigate the daily challenges. However, we were never able to find any support for me. When I was six, I wrote a book called My Sister Has Diabetes and How That Makes Me Feel. It was a way for me to express myself and my emotions, but at that time, my book was just for me. I wasn’t aware that it could become a resource that would benefit other people.

I think growing up in the shadow of diabetes gave me a unique perspective. I am now 19 and care about diabetes advocacy, especially for siblings. Two years ago I self-published my book and started a nonprofit called Support for Siblings.

This year I was fortunate enough to be a first timer at the Children With Diabetes’ Friends for Life Conference in Orlando where I tracked down Kerri and introduced myself. She was gracious and hilarious, as anyone who reads her blog knows, and she invited me to write a guest blog post to introduce another perspective on living day to day with T1D. Although I don’t have diabetes, it is very much a part of my life.

At the conference I partnered with the “Orange Team” who works with the kids who don’t have diabetes but whose lives are still affected by T1D, just like me. There I read and gave out copies of my book to siblings and parents. Interacting with the kids, sharing my story, and hearing theirs was inspiring and validating. Many of the kids I met experience similar situations and emotions that I had. I remember growing up wishing there was someone who could relate to me and my feelings, and now I want to help siblings who are scared and confused like I was.

My goal is to continue to get the book to as many type 1 siblings as possible. If you weren’t at the conference but know someone who may benefit from my book, you can find it on Amazon.

I’d also love to hear from you at supportforsiblings@aol.com. Out of the struggle and pain and longing to sympathize with my sister, I have become an advocate and hope I can provide support for siblings.

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Thanks so much to Grace, for making a difference in the world for PWD and their families.  You can order a copy of her book on Amazon by clicking here.

 

Recipe for FFL.

Want to make Friends for Life?  Here’s how:

Ingredients:

1 large Coronado Spring
Millions of humidity molecules
3,000 family members who live with diabetes
1,000 (estimated) Mickey Mouse waffles
22 bowls of glucose tabs
Dozens of supportive siblings
Hundreds of orange bracelets
Hundreds of green bracelets
Several buffet tables of carb-counted food
Add sports central, support sessions, and learning workshops to your taste

Directions:

Take your humidity molecules and mix with the Coronado Spring.  They will combine to become as hot as possible.  Move into your hotel room and be thankful for the conditioned air.

Assess your pancreas. Salute your pancreas if it functions properly and don your orange bracelet with pride. If your pancreas is a thumbs down as far as insulin production goes, put on your green bracelet with pride as you are not alone with diabetes.

Attend focus groups and meet with companies who aim to make a difference in the lives of people with diabetes.  Between meetings, visit the pool and go down the waterslide, mingle with CWD staff and friends at Pepper Market, and give a happy wave to strangers-who-are-not-strangers.

Have fun.  Enjoy healthy meal options that are carb counted (and gluten-free if that’s your jam).  Dance with the DJ at the banquet.  Meet the Disney characters at breakfast.  Get a retinal screening.  Learn about things like diabetes and exercise, and going to college with type 1 diabetes, and new technology options, and parenting and pregnancy.  Collect at the social spots in the evenings and talk about LIFE and some diabetes but not entirely diabetes.

Be thankful that companies and sponsors and donors have come together to make an event like Friends for Life possible.  Thank them for their financial contributions and support.  Thank the fellows.  Thank the scholarship programs.  Thank the staff for their tireless efforts.  Thank your friends and families for being part of this experience with you.

Rinse and repeat for several days, until your heart is full and your voice is gone and the corners of your mouth feel stretched to the brink from smiling.

Disclosure:  I could not be prouder to be a member of this organization as a board member, part of the adults with type 1 diabetes faculty, and a grateful PWD attendee.  My travel and lodging are covered by the organization, but my opinions and dedication to the cause are my own.  Huge thanks to the staff, supporters, and sponsors who make Friends for Life possible.  

If you’d like to make a donation to support CWD, please click here.

 

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