It takes one person, one moment, one conviction, to start a ripple of powerful change

 

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©2018 by Just Like Us Initiative. 

I would have held you closer if i knew you weren't going to stay ..........

It was1984 on my first day of kindergarten when I met a bright vivacious tall girl with the most beautiful long hair id ever seen, her name was Karen.

3 years later we were in primary school and Karen was away sick for a couple of weeks, I remember being worried, soon enough she returned and her mother Rose spoke to the class explaining that Karen had Type 1 Diabetes and that from now on she would be testing her blood regularly and injecting herself with insulin when she ate.

From that day on Diabetes became something that was in my life, through our primary school years, our high school years and into our young adult hood when we rented a home together. 

As lifelong friends, we embarked on many adventures all in which she so graciously managed the challenges of her disease. Through the hard times, the highs and lows she took it all in her stride.

 

To this day I do not once recall a time that she complained. In fact, despite all her struggles it was Karen that kept me in check throughout our wild years, she was my strength, strong and fearless and was ALWAYS there to pick up my broken pieces.

As life started to move faster we were all off chasing our futures and I became pregnant with my first son. On the night of November 23rd 2007 Karen drove me home after a friend’s wedding, and she told me of her dreams to soon settle down and have children also. So, excited to think of all our new journeys to come I kissed her goodbye and jumped out the car.

This was the last time I saw my dear friend as that night at the young age of 27 Karen passed away in her sleep.

 

The following weeks, months and years were difficult to face and I thought about my friend often. 6 years later to my shock I noticed the symptoms of the disease I had once known in my second son Paxx just 3 years old. That night he was diagnosed with T1D. 

 

All I could think about was Karen and how this could be happening, was it a strange coincidence? was she mad at me? had I done something wrong? did I not help her enough? Was I being punished? The thoughts didn't stop for a long time.

As the time has passed and I have now been caring for my own T1D child for 5 and a half years I have learnt so much and can truly say I wish I knew more about what my friend was going through for all those years, I wish I understood the seriousness of what was happening to her body so I could have been more supportive, I wish I were more protective of her feelings when others would judge, but I didn't know and for that Im sorry. So, for this I have made a promise to all the children and families Just Like Us and I tribute this to you my friend.

Dear Karen, 

I promise to not only keep my boy safe but to do my very best to support as many children and families who are living with T1D. You should be by my side again right now in this venture as you always were but you’re not so I can only thank you for the 23 years of friendship and unconditional support that you gave me which helped shape the woman I now am. I promise to carry the strength and bravery you showed me and honour your memory in all that I do.

I love you,, 

Love Sarah

Xx