Community Spotlight: Meet Cara & Mya

January 18, 2024

We recently sat down with an incredible mother, Cara, who has experienced the profound journey of caring for her young daughter Mya, with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Cara shares her diagnosis story, offers valuable insights into managing T1D day-to-day, and explains why she signed up for One Walk to fundraise for JDRF. Her hope for the future of T1D is nothing short of inspiring. 

Tell us about your daughter’s diagnosis story: 

Mya was just 3 years old when our T1D journey began. It all started with what seemed like endless trips to the bathroom. She couldn’t stop peeing, and her thirst was insatiable. Initially, I thought it might be a urinary tract infection. We visited our GP, who conducted blood tests. The results were due the next day. 

That evening, as the clock neared 8 PM, my phone rang incessantly. The GP delivered shocking news; Mya’s blood glucose level was dangerously high at 31. She could be at the precipice of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), and it was likely diabetes. We were told to wake her immediately and rush her to the hospital, or they’d send an ambulance. Panic-stricken, we packed an overnight bag, praying it was a mistake. 

In a whirlwind of emotions, we picked her up, still asleep, and raced to the emergency room. That was where the diagnosis was official; Mya had T1D. It was a heart-wrenching moment, especially for a child so young and innocent. I felt like crying, but I made a promise to myself to be strong for Mya, to ensure she lived her life to the fullest despite her condition. In those initial days, saying “no” to her favourite treats was heartbreaking, but it was vital for her health. 

What has your experience of taking care of a child living with T1D been like? 

It’s been a rollercoaster. We have good days, and we have bad days. It’s tough, especially with other siblings around. We’ve established strict routines in our home. We make sure everyone eats at the same time, and we prioritize healthy eating. We aim for Mya to grow up considering this as normal. 

When we’re out with friends, we try to blend in as seamlessly as possible. We let Mya enjoy herself occasionally because she deserves it. We face questions from children and adults, but it’s now our new normal. 

What advice would you give to other parents who are facing a similar situation, either in terms of coping with the diagnosis or managing the condition day-to-day? 

I understand how hard this journey can be – the constant monitoring, the nightly wake-ups to check sugar levels, the worries about low blood sugar in the middle of the night, pricking their little fingers in the dark. I’m perpetually exhausted. When they’re sick, I wonder if it’s a hospital visit. 

Becoming a nurse and dietitian overnight wasn’t what I signed up for, but we do it because we must, for our children. I want to send a heartfelt message to all parents dealing with T1D: We are warriors in our homes, and no one truly gets it unless they have a child with T1D. So much goes on behind the scenes, and I salute every one of us. 

Why did you join JDRF One Walk?

I’ve always wanted to do something special for Mya. I wanted to inspire her to be proud of who she is, with T1D being just a part of her extraordinary story. No matter what, she knows I’ll always be there, cheering her on from the sidelines. I hope this journey through life will take her to incredible places. 

What is your wish for the future for Type 1 diabetes? 

First and foremost, my wish is for fewer children and people to receive this diagnosis. I hope for a cure, as miracles still happen every day, and hope should never be lost. My other dream is for all children with T1D to be comfortable and proud, knowing they are superstars and heroes. Together, we can support one another and make this journey brighter.