“Insulin and Syringes are my Life Companions”—Growing up with T1D in Jalisco
Editor’s Note: Until 2022, there have been wide gaps in the data about the incidence and impact of type 1 diabetes across the world. According to estimates from the type 1 diabetes (T1D) Index by JDRF, almost 90,000 people live with type 1 diabetes in Mexico, but almost 60,000 additional people would still be alive today if everyone had access to a timely diagnosis, vital diabetes supplies and management education. An average young person diagnosed at age 10 will lose an estimated 35 years of healthy life. Globally, there are an estimated total of 3.86 million people that would be alive today if everyone had equitable access to diabetes healthcare and tools. Learn more at T1DIndex.org.
Life for a Child is a global non-profit that partners with diabetes centers in under-resourced countries to provide young people with insulin, supplies, education and support, while also providing education and support for local health care professionals. Learn more about Beyond Type 1’s partnership with Life for a Child and the organization’s vision for the future.
The following interview was conducted by Rachel Clayton, Life for a Child’s marketing and fundraising manager. In addition to the story shared below, read more about their work supporting young people like Rwandan sisters Ineza and Rebeka at ToClimbAThousandHills.org.
Maria is a 15-year-old living in Jalisco, México with her mother Araceli who owns a shoe repair business. Maria is a typical young woman. She likes volleyball and rollerblading, and her favorite subjects in school are English and Math. Maria was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) when she was just 7 years old.
Through the support of Life for a Child, an organization dedicated to supporting young people with diabetes in under-resourced countries, Maria has been able to access the supplies, education and care she needs. She is one of many who participated in the Life for a Child Global Art Competition. (Vote for your favorites HERE!)
Life for a Child (LFAC) recently spoke with Maria and her mother about Maria’s diagnosis, her artwork and her dreams for the future.
LFAC: What was it like when Maria was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
Maria: I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I thought that when I left the hospital it would be over; I didn’t even know why I was there.
Araceli: It was very difficult and something new for me. I had no knowledge about this condition but I relied on the Mexican Diabetes Association in Jalisco and thanks to their team my daughter, my family and I have been able to take good care of her type 1 diabetes.
Can you tell us a little bit about your fantastic artwork?
Maria: Well, my insulin and my syringes are my life companions because they accompany me wherever I go and without them I could not live. It’s me, embracing what gives me life.
“Thanks to you I have the insulin I need to live”
Araceli: Without Life for a Child, it would be difficult, financially speaking, to get the supplies my daughter needs.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Maria: I would love for the government to provide the supplies we need without skimping; it would be incredible to have access to insulin pumps and to be able to use the sensor more often.
One of my greatest hopes is that someday not too far away there will be a cure for diabetes and that all the children in the world who suffer from it can have support like the one Life for a Child has given to my parents and me.
I want to show that diabetes is not a condition that makes us different because we deserve to be treated with respect. I will become an advocate so that people are aware and know what it is like to live with diabetes. It is not a reason for bullying or mistreatment!
Life for a Child believes that no child should die of diabetes. Find out how you can help support young people living with diabetes in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities at https://lifeforachild.org/help/