Having one child with diabetes is difficult enough.
But when both of Jill McAninch’s sons were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes – a condition that affects 300,000 Canadians – within nine months of each other, the whole family was in shock.
Simon was diagnosed first in January of 2008, followed by Sam in September.
Now nine and seven respectively, Simon and Sam not only monitor their own diabetes and help each other, but every other person with the disease.
The brothers, along with their mother and friends and family, formed Team Dynamic Duo to raise money for juvenile diabetes research and for three years running, have been the top fundraisers for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.
The disease is tough on kids, said McAninch.
“It makes them miss out on the simple pleasures of being nine and seven. They can’t just do things because they want to. If a freezie is presented to them, they have to think about it first. They’re not normal nine and seven-year-olds."
“It’s hard because I have to remember to do my finger pricks before lunch and dinner and breakfast,” said Simon.
“I think it’s very good that people want to raise money for JDRF and a cure for diabetes,” added Sam.
“A lot of kids have to live with this disease alone,” said McAninch. “So if there’s any silver lining in all of this, it’s that they don’t have to live with it alone.”
More than 2,000 people collectively raised $204,000 at the Ottawa walk Sunday.
The walk is the biggest fundraiser for JDRF, which specifically funds research for Type 1 diabetes, and acts as a support mechanism for families.
The disease is a difficult one for families, said Byron James, JDRF’s regional manager for northeastern Ontario.
“It’s 24/7, there’s no remission, it never stops,” he said. “Having said that, I haven’t met a child yet with a defeatist attitude. They’re unbelievably resilient.”