We’ve made it to a special day on the calendar. Nope…not a birthday, anniversary or work milestone.

Today is World Diabetes Day.

Just over 9 years ago, this became part of our family’s reality…and we didn’t see it coming. I will never forget both my fear of a diabetes diagnosis along with being very lacking in knowledge.  So here’s the thing…there are multiple types of diabetes. My family deals with Type 1, which used to be called juvenile diabetes (as it is most often diagnosed in minors but can occur at any age).

At 5 years old, we weren’t sure what this meant for every day life for our son. The team at BC Children’s Hospital was (and still is) amazing. The support, encouragement and care provided is second to none. We know that we are very fortunate to live close enough to go in for regular visits. (Not to mention being Canadian also means the cost of care is manageable. Have you seen how much insulin alone costs in some other countries!?!)


He was mostly concerned about whether he could still keep his dream of playing hockey. We said YES! And then went home to research role models. Toby Petersen was with the Dallas Stars at the time and sent a personal letter to our son. Over the years doing a few really generous things for him, not costing much money but giving of his time and efforts for a little boy living in a new reality.  These days Max Domi is his hockey hero. I can also say…my son plays hockey and has pushed himself to improve year after year.

Diagnosed at 5, started hockey at 8 and is now in his 7th year on the ice.




Today, my son is in Ontario with his Dad. They are at the very first World Diabetes Day Hockey Tournament, happening through the work of those behind an organization called DSkate and on the ice at York University. Every player between 7 and 17, in this tournament, lives with Type 1 Diabetes. I am so excited for and proud of my boy.

Here’s the thing…World Diabetes Day is about awareness. Do you know what it means to be diabetic? Are you aware of symptoms and signs that you might need to see a Doctor? I didn’t know but for some reason was worried that we’d hear ‘diabetes’. I took my son to the Doctor that fateful day in October 2010, but never uttered the word. I was too anxious to suggest it. We will be forever grateful for the family doctor who picked up on the signs, did a simple urine test in office and sent us on our way to hospital…immediately. It didn’t change the outcome of what life looks like every day for our son and our family, but it drastically changed what the diagnosis reality could have been. He was ‘caught early’ or so everyone said. He was never hospitalized overnight. He never had an IV (until a few years later during a particularly tough flu attack). He didn’t suffer many health issues that are often the reason people seek help.


There is no cure, yet, for Type 1 Diabetes but it can be managed. It takes work and is exhausting at times but there is hope. A serious health situation can be isolating but we’ve been blessed to have amazing people in both our family and friend circle who stepped up. To support us, encourage us and even learned how to do the daily grind of medical care to share the burden with us at times. They have been our saving grace more than a few times.

So, awareness. What should you be aware of? If you or a loved one is not well and you think it might be diabetes, please see a Doctor right away!  Here are a few of the most ‘common’ signs or symptoms.

  • Increased Thirst
  • Frequent Urination
  • Bed wetting by a child who had previously been dry during the night
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Irritability or other mood changes
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Blurred vision

There are wonderful organizations to help you. We found JDRF to be a wonderful resource over the years, especially the early days.

Reach out, ask questions, see a Doctor if concerned and above all, know that you are not alone!

Happy World Diabetes Day! – Lisa

Filed under: awareness, Diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes, World Diabetes Day