If your son spent 147 euros on bottled water when on a trip to Berlin, what would you think? If you then found 100’s of water bottles in his bedroom, would you be worried?
In June 2017, our eldest son Will collapsed at work and we rushed to pick him up, fearing the worst. We knew there was something seriously wrong, and we took Will to the GP as soon as we could. This resulted in an immediate transfer to our local hospital and a diagnosis that would change our lives forever.
JDRF is a charity that is funding research to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes, whilst trying to treat, prevent and ease its complications. Type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by a poor diet or an unhealthy lifestyle. It isn’t caused by anything that someone did or didn’t do and currently, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition. “There are currently 400,000 people in the UK with type 1 diabetes, over 29,000 of them are children”.*
Insulin is crucial to life and type 1 diabetes suffers, don’t have enough insulin. When you eat, insulin moves the energy from your food into the cells of your body. When your pancreas fails to produce insulin, sugar levels in your blood start to rise and your body can’t function properly. Over time this high level of sugar in the blood can damage organs and blood vessels, causing serious complications.
Will was diagnosed when he was 14 years old. He needs to inject insulin up to 5 times a day. This will be for the rest of his life. Will’s body doesn’t create enough insulin and this is where our journey began, understanding how to use insulin, understanding why we need it, how important it is and understanding how it affects everything.
JDRF, “focus on investing in research that will transform the lives of people with type 1 diabetes – improving treatments today until we find the cure”.*
At first, we grieved the loss of a future, everything felt hard. We used to worry about Will leaving the house, but our son is fiercely independent and positive. Will took all of this in his stride, owning his responsibility and his future. As Will puts it, “It was a hard adjustment going from life before diagnosis to now. However, over the 2 years, I haven’t let it dictate the way I live”. And he doesn’t! At weekends and school holidays, he helps us at Hargate Hall, works at a local restaurant and of course, does his canoeing.
Will injects the smallest amount of insulin into his body each day to save his life, a tiny tiny amount. But these tiny amounts add up and become huge, they are literally life or death. It’s the same with fundraising, every tiny amount makes the difference, our event is our tiny contribution, your attendance at this event is a tiny contribution, but these small gestures, these tiny steps forward, they add up. They become something big. It’s the same with research into a cure, the tiny steps forward, well, they are life or death. Together we are making a difference. Tiny steps forward.
This now sits in the background for us, we are two years in, and we’ve learnt a lot. It’s brought us closer together as a family and now we fight for Will to live a normal life. It’s about education, we need teachers and employers, politicians and doctors to understand the need for research, the pressing need for a cure. So, we are doing our bit. Will you help us on our journey?
To help raise money for JDRF we are holding a fundraising party and music festival in our grounds on the 31st August. For more details on this see our facebook event . We would love for you to join us for this wonderful celebration event, but if you can’t make it please consider donating to our money giving page. Julie is also running the Great North Run in just a few weeks time, again for JDRF!
We didn’t think it would be our child, we didn’t ever think this would happen to us. Now we are determined to work as a family to raise awareness and funds until the day there is a cure.
All our love,
The Knox Family
*Facts and information from JDRF Website, www.jdrf.org.uk.