Volume 12 Week 5

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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

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Tim Tierney



 

 

 

   
(Posted 6 p.m., June 20)
Local youngster living with Type-1 Diabetes, truly an inspiration

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Connor Ouellette shows off his Dexcom unit which can test his blood sugar level up to 288 times a day. Photo provided

Last weekend, a group of family and friends took part in the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes near Dow's Lake to show their support for 10-year-old Connor Ouellette who was diagnosed with Type-1 (Juvenile) Diabetes seven years ago.

Like most young people in their situation, Connor's diagnosis came as a complete surprise to his parents Guy and Krista.

"It was scary because we didn't know anything about it. It doesn't run in either of our families. Connor is the first one to have it," says Krista.

Connor started showing symptoms within days after he got sick one night.

"I took him to see our doctor because he had been acting different and kept asking for water, so she did a quick urine test and it was full of sugar and then she told me to get a blood test done because he might have diabetes. So then I took him straight to urgent care and they pricked his finger and a number didn't even come up it just said 'high' and so I took him straight to CHEO," recalls Krista.

When the staff at CHEO confirmed Connor had Type-1 Diabetes, his parents took a crash course on a disease which 24 hours earlier they didn't know anything about.

Type-1 Diabetes is an autoimune disease in which the body's immune system misguidingly destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas rather than the cells contaminated by the initial virus, or in Connor's case, an ear infection.

Type-1 Diabetes is unlike Type-2 Diabetes in that it can not be prevented. Type-2 Diabetes can be prevented by eating properly, exercising regularly and living a healthy lifestyle.

Type-1 diabetics are also totally dependent on insulin injections because their bodies can no longer produce it, while Type-2 diabetics can still produce insulin but at varying levels.

Until they can find a cure for Type-1 diabetes, those people who have the disease must learn to live with it the rest of their lives.

The Ouellette clan takes part in last weekend's Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes. Team Connor raised over $7,000 in the lead up to the event in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Photo provided

Connor's blood sugar levels are tested up to 20 times a day, either by himself, his parents, his educational assistant, his teacher, or his daycare providers. He then must sometimes take a snack to keep his blood sugar levels in check. The type and the amount of the snack depends on his level. He also needs to take two insulin shots a day and he must go through this regime every day of his life.

"He hates it, he really does, but he's learned to live with it. In a way it was a good thing that he contracted it at such a young age because he doesn't remember living any other way," says Guy. "We've been so lucky because Connor is the type of kid who can just roll with it. When he was six he said he was glad he had diabetes and not his brother or his sisters. That's the type of kid he is."

Despite having Type-1 Diabetes, Connor is as active as any other youngster his age. He plays hockey and he takes karate lessons at his father's dojo. The only difference is that his blood sugar levels must be tested before, during and after every activity.

Low blood sugar levels can result in a loss of consciousness, or in the worse case scenario an individual can go into shock and risk brain damage or possibly even death. High blood sugar levels can lead to hyperglycemia which can lead to nerve damage, and even kidney failure.

The Junior Diabetes Research Foundation, or JDRF, is leading the way in developing treatments for Type-1 Diabetes and they have launched a number of clinical trials aimed at reproducing the beta cells that produce insulin in the body. Further research will hopefully lead to a cure for the disease in the not too distant future, which brings us back to the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes.

Nearly 70 people joined Team Connor for the walk this year, which raised over $7,000. Hundreds more took part in the event, and collectively raised over $138,000. The money will be used to help fund continued research so that a cure for Type-1 Diabetes will eventually be found and no more children, or anyone else for that matter, will have to live with this terrible disease in the future.

Signs and symptoms of Type-1 Diabetes can include the following:

- Unusual thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight change (gain or loss)
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
- Blurred vision
- Frequent or recurring infections
- Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
- Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
- Trouble getting or maintaining an erection

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your health-care provider right away. For more information visit http://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/signs-and-symptoms#sthash.SAId4INA.dpuf.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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Posted Jan. 12



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