Some empowering posts from young and dedicated type 1s, who take on the daily challenges of this condition each day, dream big and achieve bigger.
Jarvis Braddon Thomas is an active DiAthlete from Pembrokeshire in Wales – and recently has transitioned into boxing. Here, Jarv writes about his type 1 experiences so far #TeamDiAthlete (September 2017)
“My name is Jarvis, I am 14 years old and at the age of 4 I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I have always loved taking part in sports, mainly football & running…having diabetes was hard on my family to start with as they were in control of looking after me. When I was first diagnosed I was on injections, I am now on an insulin pump, which seems to suit me better as I / we find it easier to control my blood sugars when exercising & after.
I am captain of a U15’s football team Angle (some of us boys have played football together since we were 6 years old) & they all know about my diabetes. Last year we won the local cup for our age group.
Last September I started boxing training to improve my fitness. After 2 months I took part in my first boxing fight, which unfortunately I lost…this encouraged me to train harder, with the help from my great coaches.
Recently on the 23rd of September I had my second boxing bout which I won by unanimous decision! It goes to show that hard work pays off & diabetes won’t stop you from achieving your ambitions & dreams.
DAISY’S #TEAMDIATHLETE INTERVIEW
1. Hello Daisy, congrats on your recent triathlete of the year award! What interested you to get into triathlons – and please explain to us a bit about how you race for a triathlon?!
Hi Gavin, when I was 4 I took part in Iron Kids at Club la Santa in Lanzarote when my dad was racing in Ironman. I’ve always been quite good at swimming and running so starting Triathlon with Chester TriClub when I could join seemed a good idea. It’s even more important to be fit now that I have Type 1. I race in the Tristart group as I am still only 8. We have to swim 50m, cycle for 1000m and run 400m. The hardest part is putting my trainers on in the transitions when my feet are wet!
2. In living with type 1 diabetes, how do you go about managing your blood sugars when it comes to triathlons? (pretty big challenge right?!)
Sometimes I get excited and nervous and this sends my glucose levels up. Mum and Dad try and get my levels between 8-12 before I have a race or go training. If I am low I have a couple of Dextrose tablets and I cellotape 1 to my handle bars just in case! I’ve started drinking Lucozade orange. I don’t like the taste but I can’t stop drinking it!
3. Have you ever had any hypo or hyper experiences during a sports / triathlon event, and if so, how did you go about sorting it out?
Not really during Triathlons but I will sometimes do a fingerprick during swimming. You don’t really feel hypo in the water and my Dexcom doesn’t work under water! When I was first diagnosed I used to get hypo playing netball. We were still getting used to the pump and exercising so I went hypo every week. I am much better now though it’s just practice.
4. To win this award, you must be pretty good at it! What was your favourite race last year and why?
I always try my best in training and even though I sometimes stop to check my levels the coaches see that I am working really hard, getting better and not letting the Type 1 stop me. That’s why they gave me the award. The first Triathlon I did was only a month after I was diagnosed. Mum and dad let me decide if I wanted to do it and I’m glad I did. I was really worried before as everything was so new with diabetes and I didn’t know if I could do it.
I came 15th out of 40 including boys so was really pleased!
5. When you were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes / or in your earlier months in living with it, what was your initial reaction, did you have any concerns?
I had been really thirsty for a few days and drinking a lot. My dad recognized the symptoms and took me straight to the Dr and he was right. We had to go to hospital and I hated all the blood tests. I was really scared of the needles and injections. Everyone was worried and I didn’t really understand what Type 1 Diabetes was and how it would affect our lives.
6. And what is your attitude about living with diabetes like now? You are out there achieving, so it is not holding you back, right!?
It’s not holding me back I’m ready to face the world and achieve anything…but it is a pain at times and I wish I didn’t have to think about it all the time.
7. As an outstanding triathlete of the year and DiAthlete, what is your message to anybody else also living with type 1 diabetes out there?
When people they ask me about Type 1 I like to say , it’s not an illness because I’m not ill I’m fine. It’s not a disease because you can’t catch it. It’s just a condition that you have to live with. Even if you have Diabetes never give up and don’t let it stop you doing anything!
(Written by Angel, January 2017)
“My name is Angel and I am 10, I am type 1 diabetic and was diagnosed in 2010 when I was just 3 – so I pretty much don’t remember life without diabetes!
My parents have always taught me to be positive about diabetes and that I should never let it control me, I should always control it.
Almost 4 years ago we were on holiday in Orlando and I can remember seeing a parade at The Magic Kingdom, with lots of cheerleaders in it. I told my mum I want to do that one day. This was when my obsession with competitive cheerleading began!
A few months later I joined my first team and I soon realised that cheer wasn’t just nice costumes and waving pom-poms. It was actually really hard work with a lot of commitment and determination. It means lots of dance tumble stunts (being thrown or throwing people up in the air…. scary stuff..right!!!) and awesome jumps.
Training was really hard at first as I was wearing a Medtronic pump that I use, it got pulled a lot and people caught it due to its cable. After a while I changed to the Omnipod and I have never looked back, I also wear the Dexcom G5 as my hypo awareness isn’t great but hopefully that will improve.
About 18 months ago, I made the move to a new team called CheerForceKnights and this is where my love for cheer grew even more as my coaches really believed in me and knew that there was no way diabetes was gonna stop my love for this sport.
We are now just months into a new competitive season which will see me and my Team Mates hit the floor at comps like BCA northern at Newcastle Metro Arena and Jamfest Europe at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
I love cheer and all my team mates are fab, they have never once made me feel different however they do understand sometimes I may need to take a break till my blood sugars are ok. My mum sits in on every training session I do just to make sure I am ok as sometimes I concentrate on cheer so much I forget about my blood sugars and how I am feeling, so I need to learn with this!”
(Posted October 2017)
Alfie Huke is from Bristol and is 9 years old. Alfie was diagnosed with type 1 in 2010, just before his 3rd birthday, and ever since has been pushing boundaries through sport regularly – playing the sports he loves in football and cricket.
This summer saw Alfie play his first full season of cricket moving up into the under 11’s and into hard ball cricket with matches lasting 3 to 4 hours. Over the season Alfie developed as a star bowler, regularly opening the bowling attack, and he ended up being selected to play for the district side as the opening bowler!
Alfie has had to quickly master his blood sugars playing cricket: before and during his matches, managing adrenaline levels and food intake during the game. Luckily Alfie moved to a CGM during the summer and feels this has certainly helped in his game management and given him the confidence to focus on his performance more, rather than worrying about his levels.
Alfie’s message: “Never let type 1 stop you from doing what you want to do, taking part in sport shows everyone we are not different and can achieve our goals. The worst thing about type 1 is when my bloods go really high, but playing the sports you love help keep numbers in a good place and helps keeping you fit and healthy, and playing sport for the rest of your life #nostoppingme”
Holly Mitchell is a 12-year-old Ice Skater from Kilmarnock in Scotland!
(Posted January 2017)
“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about 18 months ago and I love to skate. When first diagnosed, I was scared in case I wouldn’t be able to skate anymore because of it. At the time there was a girl who already had diabetes at my club so I kind of knew that I could skate but I was still scared. I was in hospital for two days after diagnosis and by the end of the two days I felt a little bit better. I went back to skating straight away – it was quite different but with help from my mum and dad I managed.
Just over a year ago I started on the Medtronic 640G pump. When I went onto the insulin pump I had to stay off skating for a week so I could get used to using it and to check the rates were all right. When I went back I found it much easier as I could give corrections or have something to eat without needing to have an injection. I always take my pump off when I go on the ice in case I fall on it. I come off the ice every hour most sessions to put through a basal so I don’t go high. If I do go high and won’t come down I will usually go home and change my set.
I have been skating since I was 5 years old and I have recently moved up to Level 2 after I got the score to move up at a competition in Aberdeen. I go skating every Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday morning. I also do off ice classes three times a week. Saturdays are my longest skating days, I have skating and off ice lessons – I am on the ice for 6:45am and don’t finish until half twelve.
I have a competition coming up in February in Bradford – my first one at Level 2, and so will write about how I get on in my next blog! I love skating just as much now if not more. My favourite saying is – don’t let your diabetes stop you from doing what you love!”