Meet Grady. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in July of 2021, when he was just 7 years old.
In the beginning, life with diabetes was hard. Grady was young and struggled to understand what was happening to his body. And why.
Fortunately, he has had his family and community by his side to help him navigate this life-changing diagnosis. He was surrounded by his parents and three sisters, as well as, other family members and friends, and was uplifted by the love and support they provided.
Grady’s grandparents attended diabetes education classes to support him, while teachers and school staff reached out to ask how they could best support Grady’s transition to his new normal. The rally of the community to support Grady has been overwhelming. We could never possibly thank any of them enough for all they have done and continue to do.
In the brief time since his diagnosis, Grady has become a fearless, outspoken leader. However, this was not always the case. Talking about diabetes is not always easy.
It was hard to explain diabetes to friends when he himself did not fully understand. I remember him coming to me one night, you could see defeat on his face, “no one gets it, I don’t get it!” It was clear he was feeling uncertain, and a bit lost in this new world.
And, as parents, we did too. We were unsure of how we could best support Grady.
His tone changed after interactions with fellow type 1s through the organization I Challenge Diabetes. As a family, we attended a charity hike and met the founder, Chris Jarvis. We really appreciated his perspective and mindset when approaching life with diabetes, and it was like our own: life has changed but it’s not going to stop Grady!
The look on Grady’s face, at that first event, when everyone began calling out their current blood glucose numbers, was uncanny. We will never forget it. He was finally with people who got it. People were experiencing highs and lows, and everything in between, just like him!
He was beaming that whole hike. We knew he had found a place of understanding and community. It was a moment we will never forget.
Grady is an incredibly active and athletic kid. He plays hockey, rugby, and baseball! He even helps on the family farm at every opportunity. He loves to be outside and is adventurous too! We are so happy to have found an organization and community of people he can share those things with.
We have continued to be part of many I Challenge Diabetes events. They are wonderful opportunities to further educate ourselves and discover Grady’s needs during these active times. Activities like hiking and rowing, at the Henley Regatta, have taught us how to prepare for adventure, and everyday life.
These instances have allowed us to form a better understanding of how different foods and activities impact Grady’s body, mind, and type 1 diabetes. Events and gatherings also opened us up to the world of diabetes technology.
At one event, we discovered Omnipod®. It is a tubeless insulin pump! And when we saw it in action on the trails, Grady instantly wanted to learn more and try it. He took the reins, and we went on to research pumps as a family.
Knowing his active lifestyle, even between sports and the farm, we knew it would be the right insulin pump for Grady. Without needing to disconnect, he could swim worry-free during the summer months, and enjoy all his favourite activities tube-free!*
Omnipod has been an amazing addition to Grady’s support system.
It has helped him manage his type 1 diabetes with ease and improved understanding, so he can be a regular 9-year-old kid. Grady easily operates the Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) on his own, inputting his information, with supervision from a family member. The bolus calculator really helps to reduce mealtime math, which means less interruptions for everyone.
When we started out, insulin was administered through multiple daily injections. This was difficult and hard on Grady. And on us as parents. It made sleepovers at a friend’s complicated. Now, Grady confidently operates the PDM and no longer worries about having to administer a pen injection.
As parents of a child with type 1 diabetes, this confidence brings us peace of mind. His newfound independence is encouraging. We cannot believe how much has changed.
Our family continues to rally around Grady and the type 1 diabetes community. We happily raise awareness alongside I Challenge Diabetes, even hosting a charity car show at our family’s farm. The support we received was spectacular!
We are so encouraged and want to continue to raise awareness and educate people about type 1 diabetes, and Grady is our driving force. He is a remarkable young man and our inspiration.
A type 1 diabetes diagnosis is life-changing but navigable when you are surrounded and supported by a community of encouragement and understanding.
Written by Johanna O’Hara, Grady’s mom
This content has been created as part of Insulet Corporations sponsorship to I Challenge Diabetes. This blog post is not a substitute for medical advice and/or services from a healthcare provider. This blog post is not to be relied upon in any way in connection with your personal health care related decisions and treatment.
* The Pod has a waterproof IP28 rating of up to 7.6 metres (25 feet) for up to 60 minutes.
The Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) is not waterproof.
Refer to the Omnipod DASH® Insulin Management System User Guide for complete safety information including indications, contraindications, warnings, cautions, and instructions.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners. The use of third party trademarks does not constitute an endorsement or imply a relationship or other affiliation.