A Lower Sackville girl received an award for sharing her story and doing her part in advocating for people with Type 1 diabetes.
Aliyah MacDonald loves to be in front of the camera. She smiles and poses like she’s been doing it forever.
When the photo session is over though, she turns back into a six year old and runs over to ask Mom if she can go outside to play and can she have ice cream - pretty typical questions for a little girl. But because Aliyah has Type 1 diabetes, the steps Mom has to take before she can answer those questions is far from typical.
First, she has to check Elijah’s food charts. What did she eat? What time did she eat? She has to figure out if she has time to go on a play date because Aliyah can’t go on her own, and if they do go she has to pack the ‘diabetes kit’. What kind of playing will they be doing? Will Aliyah over exert herself? When you have a child with Type 1 diabetes asking these questions is necessary to keep your child alive.
“It impacts everything,” said Aliyah’s mom Linda Lennox. “It’s always in your head. Its 24 hours a day. It’s like they say ‘diabetes never sleeps’.
One thing that has made a huge difference in the quality of life for the Lower Sackville family is the insulin pump. It’s a small pump attached to a thin plastic tube that has a soft plastic needle at the end where insulin passes. It’s inserted under the skin and is used for continuous insulin delivery 24-hours-a-day. It doesn’t take diabetes away but it certainly allows for a much more manageable life and makes injections unnecessary.
“She cried every time she had one (an injection),” said Lennox. “I will do anything to make sure she never has to go back to that.”
Each year the Canadian Diabetes Association gives out The Regional Inspiration Award to an individual or family who has overcome great obstacles to manage their diabetes and continue to enjoy a fulfilling and active lifestyle.
Aliyah MacDonald and her family were given the award because of their actions as role models and as an example of a family who struggles to pay for the cost of an insulin pump.
Lennox has become a huge advocate for the pump and takes Aliyah along with her whenever she has the opportunity to talk to a politician about the government covering the costs for the pump, especially for children.
“She goes in and shows it to them and explains a little about it and how she can play games and do the things she wants to do because of it,” said Lennox.
An insulin pump costs approximately $7000.00 and the warranty runs out after four years. Supplies needed to run the pump costs $300 per month. The cost of the pump is covered in four provinces including: British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Newfoundland.
Lennox will never stop fighting so that people can have the option of choosing an insulin pump. She said it allows you to ease your mind a little.
“If you don’t live it you don’t understand it,” she said. “That’s why we have to keep reminding people.”
For more information on Type 1 diabetes and the insulin pump please visit www.diabetes.ca