“I like World Diabetes Day” | Slideshow #wdd

His classmates showed support
His classmates showed support

Caleb woke up on Monday, sat up in bed with a smile and a sigh and said, “Today is going to be a regular lunch.”

“What do you mean, Caleb?”

“No special shows to watch today while we eat.”

“Oh! Nope. Not today.”

“I like World Diabetes Day. It was exciting.”

We had two World Diabetes Days.  Our 2nd Annual School Blue-nity event was on Friday. There was an even bigger swarm of blue this year since not only was Caleb’s school involved, but also the “big school” next door. There are three children among the two schools of approximately 800 students living with type 1 diabetes.  It was great to broaden the scope and include all three of them this year.

I made ribbons: special ones with a red sequin for the three children of honor, ones with a small red bead for those people (family, school nurses, teachers) that support them most, and plain ones for all their classmates and extras for whomever wanted one.  The red sequins and beads represent the drop of blood needed to check their blood sugar. I was able to meet one of the other two diabetic children for the first time on our school spirit day. I told him I liked his pin. I was happy to hear him proudly reply, “Thanks. Mine is special.” I told him I knew – I had made it especially for him.

Our awareness video was shown during each of the eight lunch sessions.  I went back and forth between schools to watch the kids’ reactions.  The younger kids were all “oohs and ahhs” at the beautiful blue monuments.  The older kids ate quietly and watched.  The principal did a great job of asking questions of the kids to reinforce the things they learned from the video.  I was happy to hear them answer the questions correctly.

Colin, Lila and I each wore an OmniPod (from our failed stash accumulated over time) in support of Caleb (I still have mine on and I am amazed at how I’ve completely forgotten about it).  Caleb even added an extra one on his arm so that people could see it.  Colin and I both got a lot of questions about it and we were able to explain what it was and get conversation going. Colin said that one of his classmates began explaining to others what it was once he learned.  I thought that was just great!

I don’t expect that anyone walked away with a comprehensive knowledge of what diabetes is, but I do believe that an overall message was sent, even to the younger kids – people who live with diabetes are just like everyone else and should be treated as such.  For Caleb, at his age, that’s what I want his peers to know.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was what Caleb’s teacher did for him. Not only did she allow me to gather the kids to take a great picture of unity of their outstretched hands with arms sleeved in blue, she helped put all those little pins on each student. Best of all, she sent Caleb out of class under false pretenses so she could do something extra special for him. She had each student write a note on green paper (his favorite color) telling him what they like about him.  They surprised him with them when he returned. There was one from each student, his teacher and his school nurse. The kids had such lovely words of support for Caleb. I think his favorite comment – which was on almost every note – was that “he is funny”.

On November 14th, we made a cake for Dr. Banting’s birthday and I let Caleb dictate the rest of the day.  He took many, many pictures. He showed us videos he accumulated on his camera including footage from last year’s walk and last year’s World Diabetes Day. He set up Olympics (it was more like just playing outside, but we went with it).

He even made every diabetes management decision himself.  He decided when to check his sugar, what action to take for each reading, he made his lunch and bolused for it, etc.  I just sat in the background and said “Mmm-hmm. Okay. What do you think you should do?”  I think it was harder for me to restrain myself than for him to actually take all the actions.

And we did the Big Blue Test – all of us. Lila’s reading was originally “HI”. Ahem. Okay. Please wash your hands and we’ll try again. She came back with a 113. My original reading after activity was 57. Alrighty. Checked again and I was 115. Gotta love the meter accuracy.

We ended the day with lots of blue glow in honor of the many monuments lit up around the world.  It was a lot of fun creating the swirl pictures in our attempt to make blue rings.  Overall, I think we had a great acknowledgement of the day, and of Caleb.  He was happy through it all, and that’s what I’ll remember.

Now on to planning for November 14, 2011…

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27 Replies to ““I like World Diabetes Day” | Slideshow #wdd”

  1. I didn’t know about the green notes. Her idea? Such a difference this year! What a great idea. We did something like this when I was a Dale Carnegie assistant and I still have mine! When we got to church on Sunday Kate said “OH NO, we forgot to wear blue”. I was impressed she knew that Sun was the actual WDD! Anyway, a very cool day. Maybe next yr we can have people wear blue and donate a buck for JDRF. Ooops, I said “we”! LOL

  2. I love how you get the whole family and even the school involved! These are great pictures and what a way to educate. Way to go Lorraine, Caleb + family 🙂

  3. OK…Lorraine…the pic of Caleb’s face and his posture in the “unders” photo… reminds me of Joe. He hams it up like that. Too funny. I love that his classmates think of him as a funny guy too. He has charisma for sure. It shows in all the photos. I also was a big fan of all the Pod-wearing that was going on in your home….and dear LORD woman…the ribbon making!!!??? You are a machine I tell ya.

    Great job spreading awareness. I stand in awe of you and your energy. I am feeling a bit inadequate actually after reading this and so many other posts. There is always 2011!!!

    Love to you and the fam.

  4. So great!! Caleb must feel so special. I love his whole community celebrating with him!
    I’m also totally scared of that HI and 57!! What the heck is that?? Last week C felt low and the meter told him 333. Quick retest read 32. Ummm, what?

  5. I’m kind of tearful seeing that pic….I LOVE your blue ribbons with the red drops….VERY touching, Lorraine. I’m so proud of the education and advocacy efforts you do. Your video is amazing. The whole thing is just amazing. God bless and keep up the good work!

  6. That sounds like a lot of fun! Caleb is a great kid, I love how you guys are all so positive about diabetes. You’ve inspired me with the blue ribbons, I might set up something like that next year on my university…
    I spent World Diabetes Day volunteering at an event where during a 7-hour period I measured blood sugars of about five hundred people. It was such an experience, to see blood sugars of so many healthy people, couple type-2 diabetics and even a few type 1. I even diagnosed a new diabetic, this man had a BG 337 and when I told him he might have diabetes he was really shocked. But it was still pretty awesome, to “catch” only one new case in hundreds of people 🙂

  7. The video, the ribbons, the cake, the flyer, the independence you gave Caleb, the school support – it’s all so wonderful. This is the kind of stuff that Caleb will remember for years to come, and if we’re lucky, the students and staff at the school will remember a little more about diabetes, too. Great job!

  8. I think this is my favorite post about WDD. I love how involved you got everyone in your community. The idea for the ribbons (especially the “special” ones) is so inspired! And it’s so great that you let Caleb take the lead on his D management. I am so touched by everything you and your family did for WDD. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. What a great success and a learning experience for everyone…keep up the good work.

    God Bless

  10. okay…what a great celebration!!…so many things to celebrate too : )
    i love the pictures of the family of meters!…what great effort, support and awareness your family put forth…”movers and shakers” for sure!

  11. Looks like a great day! So much enthusiasm and dedication.

    And isolated incidents I know, but it seems to be a complete contrast in this UK post.

    Any hints and tips on raising awareness of diabetes in schools?

  12. Not like I had any doubt before…..but reading this convinces me that you are a totally awesome mom! I’m so glad the whole family had a rockin’ WDD!

  13. Thank you so much for all these great ideas!! I’m wondering, though… how did you affix the ribbons on the kids? With mini-safety pins? (Thinking of the safety issue here…) ;o)

  14. hi Caleb I also have type 1 diabetes and I am also allergic to peanuts! 🙂
    you are so brave Caleb you are the one who helped me all through my diabetes journey. Thank you Caleb! you are so brave. You are my hero.

    1. Mike, You are very sweet. Thank you so much for your comment and kind words. – Lorraine and Caleb

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