One of the best parts of hosting diabetes giveaways is knowing that someone in the Diabetes Community will be getting a fun gift that can help them out in some way with their D-Life.
And the very best part is hearing back from those winners about how they’ve enjoyed their prize, and how it’s made a difference for them.
One of our recent Book Giveaways had a back to school spin, just as the new academic year was getting started, and we had a whole lot of readers stopping by to leave a comment. We were very happy to announce that D-Mom Ellen Mulvihill in Illinois won a free copy of the book It’s OK To Be Different: An Amazing School Day by Risa Peets, and her daughter Alexandra was able to read it before actually heading back to school.
As mentioned in our post on Aug. 19, the book’s main character is a young boy named Lance who’s living with type 1. Written through the eyes of the child, the book is appealing to children with diabetes (CWDs), but can also be read and used by parents or educators to teach kids about being accepting of people’s differences – especially when it comes to diabetes.
About a month in, Ellen says her nearly 8-year-old daughter Alexandra enjoyed reading the book in large part because it “fits in perfectly” with their family’s story and how Alexandra is feeling about her diabetes now, in the 2nd grade.
“I thought it was the heat,” Ellen says, “and I noticed she was eating more, but since she was a really skinny child I thought that was a good thing. She was drinking all day even in the middle of the night. We took her to the doctor who told us it was diabetes.” Even after being at the hospital, Ellen says she still didn’t believe it.
“Diabetes?? That’s for old people, not my healthy child!” she remembers thinking.
Alexandra spent her 5th birthday at the hospital while Ellen learned all about giving shots and carb counting.
Oh, and by the way, Ellen was 9 months pregnant at the time!
“I felt so scared and guilty! We have no family history. Did I do something to cause this? Would my second child have diabetes, too?” Ellen recalled. “The worst was when she asked me when her diabetes would go away. What do you say?!”
Now as school starts once again, Alexandra is going through those feelings of being different and wanting to hide her diabetes — a main theme of the Risa Peets book she won in the recent giveaway. Ellen tells us:
Alexandra read the book and really liked it. She liked how the mom explained why Lance needs insulin. She loved the “everyone is different” message because I always say that to her, too. I always point to other kids with allergies, celiac, lactose intolerance, or anything and say, “See, everyone is different.” She did ask why Lance didn’t have a pump! Maybe he can get one in the next book.
I suggested she use the book for a book presentation she needed to do at school, but she said no. Then, I suggested she use The Babysitters Club: The Problem with Stacy because that book character also has T1D, but again no. She still does not want to draw attention to her diabetes.
In the suburbs of Chicago, Ellen says her daughter’s school has a school nurse — something that isn’t common in that area, especially in the city of Chicago itself. She says that Alexandra is doing well in school, but as a mom she still worries no matter what.
“She hasn’t been teased by anyone about her diabetes,” Ellen said. “I encourage her to state it as a matter of fact and I try to point others with diabetes. She’s sensitive around people she doesn’t know. We are still working on that. I want her to feel confident and strong, that diabetes can’t hold her back I just hope I’m doing things right.”
Thanks for sharing your story with us, Ellen, and letting us know how much Alexandra liked the book. We hope it helps her learn that it’s totally cool to be different, and that diabetes is just one more trait that makes us who we are!