There are people in this world who possess something you don't have and you stand back and wonder if you could ever have it. An inner courage. A deeper level of wisdom. Something you admire because you're not sure you could attain to that.
For me, that person is a 9 year old boy named Brady.
Brady has Juvenile (Type I) Diabetes. To steal the words of his parents, Brady has to do things that no child should. 10-12 needle pricks a day, a painful infusion site that attaches him to his insulin pump every 3 days, and when his insulin pump isn't working, shots of insulin. He must always be aware of carbs, his activity level, his body. He has to deal with frightening lows and life-threatening highs. He has to live with the knowledge that this disease can rob one of fingers, toes, eyesight, or cause kidney failure, to name just a few harsh realities.
And yet, Brady possesses something that makes me stand back and wonder. He has an inner courage, a deeper level of wisdom. Something I admire because I'm not sure that I could ever attain to that.
Though Type I diabetes is not caused by eating too many sweets and is completely unpreventable, Brady understands what Type II is and knows that it IS preventable. I love sweets. I have a horrible sweet tooth. I know I shouldn't eat so many of them, but it was Brady that made me stop and think one day.
I had my near-daily cup of hot chocolate sitting on my desk, chocolate candy, and I think I was talking about ice cream or some other yummy pile of sugar. Brady said to me, "You shouldn't eat too much sweets. You can get diabetes."
I don't know if the power of that statement comes through in black and white, but it stunned me for a moment. Here is a kid who did nothing to cause his own diabetes (which is entirely more complicated than Type II) watching an adult eat her way into Type II Diabetes, completely by her own choice. Here's a kid who has to count every carb and get insulin for every gram, watching an adult...me... eat junk food with no care in the world. No testing, no counting, no insulin.
And here I tell him to be responsible and stop what he's doing, even if it is recess, and test. He knows that if his numbers are too low he'll miss recess completely (like today). I tell him to think about his future while he does what no child should ever have to do-grow up fast. I give him lectures, reinforcing the standards that no other child in the entire school has to follow. I stress the importance of taking care of his body and keeping himself healthy. What a hypocrite I am, sitting there with my hot chocolate, candy, and dreams of ice cream.
Brady, where do you find your courage? How is it you possess the strength to keep poking and testing while you would rather be out having fun? I stand back and wonder if I could ever have that. But should I ever need it, I will think of you and be inspired. Your strength will increase mine. And I will stop eating too many sweets. :)
Below is a video about Brady and Juvenile (Type I) Diabetes. Please watch it and then click the link below if you are able to donate anything...even $1...to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for Brady's team, "Brady's Bunch." Pray for a cure.
Click here to donate. Thank you!