This was the start of a beautiful friendship and the creation of our diabetes project. Back in 2013 I had the pleasure of meeting Adejumo Hakeem from Nigeria. We’d been in constant communication prior to the International Diabetes Federation Conference in Melbourne as I’d managed to win their essay competition, ‘Diabetes in Nigeria: Protecting the Future’. I even went on to write my masters on ‘The Relationship Between Urbanisation and Type 2 Diabetes: a human rights-based approach to health in Nigeria’. So here we were, online friends from New Zealand and Nigeria, finally able to cross the ocean and meet in person.
We were determined to work together in someway and our individual aspirations finally collided, becoming realised in May this year. I had always wanted to write a children’s book where the main character had type 1 diabetes, in a fun and non-educational way. I felt that the vast majority of diabetes related books were essentially instruction manuals concealed in stories ie. defining what they should do in school. Diabetes forces children to become adults too quickly through the responsibility they’re faced with. I wanted to play on the imagination of children and let them be, well, children again. So off I went, I wrote a book, ‘Little Lisette the Diabetic Deep Sea Diver‘. There’s no physical education, it’s about being brave.
Adejumo was the Director of Operations for the Nigerian Diabetes Online Community (NGdoc). He was working to build awareness and distribute medical supplies for children with type 1 diabetes across his nation, embarking tirelessly on a large project. We decided to join forces and finally do something together as we both held the same passion and goals.
Fast forward to May this year, our moment of truth. Here I was on social media with the first copy of my book in hand, spreading the word, excited about what lay ahead for us both.
It’s been 6 months since the book was launched and the sales are still doing great. The profits from my book go directly to Adejumo at NGdoc to aid children with type 1 diabetes in Nigeria who do not have access to the supplies they need to survive. There are already stories of young children who we, and our consumers, have supported. If you have bought a book – YOU helped a child!
Our very first child was enough to spur us on, the fact that we’d made a difference in someone’s life is very humbling. Oluwatimileyin Daniel was 14 years old and in a state of diabetes ketoacidosis in hospital as his family had no money to buy insulin. Through our partnership we were able to pay for both the insulin and glucometer test strips he needed. He was lucky, many are not.
If you want to help us make a difference you can buy the book, or the cheaper e-book version on Amazon. If your child has type 1 diabetes they will hopefully love the book and be saving another child at the same time.