One local family is hoping to make life just a little bit easier for their nine-year-old daughter.
Sheri Cameron and her husband, Curtis, are fundraising to help purchase an insulin pump for Courtney, one of their two daughters. Courtney was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes on Jan. 2, 2018.
“She was drinking a lot and urinating a lot, and had no energy,” said Courtney’s mother. “But it was really the excessive drinking that alerted us to something being a little off.”
It was over the holidays a year ago when Cameron noticed her daughter’s drinking had taken a leap. Courtney plays hockey, and emptied her entire water bottle. Cameron said Courtney would hardly drink any previously.
“At home, she kept saying, ‘I’m thirsty’, ‘I’m thirsty,’ so I asked Curtis if he noticed,” she said, adding they kept a closer eye on Courtney.
They noticed the excessive thirst and took their daughter to the doctor.
“I didn’t suspect type 1 at all,” said Cameron.
Courtney underwent a urine test, and had her finger pricked for a blood glucose test.
“We were told we had to go to the IWK. We weren’t taken by ambulance, but the doctor told us to go home, pack a bag, and to go,” said Cameron.
They stayed for three days before returning home to adjust to a type 1 diagnosis.
“We knew nothing about type 1 or carbohydrates,” the mother admitted. “Everything Courtney eats, she has to count the carbohydrates in it and adjust the insulin for it. She has multiple daily injections with a pen needle.”
Cameron said her daughter administers two types of insulin – fast acting and long acting. Fast acting insulin kicks in quickly and lasts for about four hours, while long acting takes longer before it begins to work and lasts longer, keeping sugars where they need to be over that period of time.
However with Courtney, her sugars are higher in the afternoon and drop overnight. Her parents check her levels at 11 p.m. and again at 3 a.m. An insulin pump, said Cameron, would provide a trickle of insulin 24 hours a day.
“Once she eats something, the pump would balance for the extra carbohydrates she needs,” said Cameron.
As of right now, Courtney is limited to when she can eat, and what she can eat. She has carbohydrate targets she has to meet, especially when it comes to snacks. That can sometimes be difficult, says Cameron.
“Courtney will think she knows what she wants to eat, so we’ll count out the carbs and inject the insulin for the rest to meet the target. Courtney will often say, ‘mom, I can’t eat all that.’ But she’ll have to, because we’ve already administered the insulin,” she said.
With a pump, Courtney would be able to eat first, then adjust the pump to correspond with the remaining carbohydrates.
“With the pump, she’s not really on a time schedule. She would have more freedom that way.”
Those with type 1 diabetes have to wait at least a year before they can be approved for pump usage, and Cameron said Courtney was expecting it on Jan. 2.
That didn’t happen, and she said her daughter was devastated.
“She had her heart set on it and it was just awful,” said Cameron. “There were a lot of tears.”
Through the family’s medical insurance coverage, the insulin pump won’t be fully covered. The pump costs around $7,200, and Cameron said the insurance covers about $2,000 of that. They’ve received another $1,000 in coverage from the Nova Scotia Insulin Pump Program, so the family is hosting a hockey game to help raise funds.
“Courtney is in her third year playing hockey, and my husband is a hockey nut,” said Cameron. “In the spring, we have hosted fishing derbies to raise money for other people, so if it was spring, we would probably be doing that. But my husband loves hockey and so do both of our girls, so we’re hosting a gentleman’s league game.”
The Tata Warriors will feature Curtis Cameron and his teammates – the warriors comes from the term people with type 1 are often called, because of what they go through. The Warriors will see Courtney join them for the first shift of the game, played against the Truro Lumber Jacks. Curtis’ cousin, who lives in Truro, put together the team.
The battle will begin at 5 p.m. Feb. 2, at the North Shore Recreation Centre. Admission is a donation at the door, and the event will feature a puck toss and 50/50 draw.
A woman with the cottage along in Portapique is donating a weekend stay at the cottage to be raffled off, and Cameron said another local resident is putting together a basket of goodies to also be raffled off. A bowling fundraiser is also in the works.
“Everyone’s generosity is so overwhelming,” said Cameron.
Courtney will be heading to the IWK for an appointment on Feb. 22, where the family hopes she will get the final go-ahead for the pump. If that happens, they hope to have it shortly thereafter.