‘What’s your favourite hobby?’ asked the Nurse. Khampoo, who is 6-years old and has Type 1 Diabetes, gave a shy smile. She looked up at her Grandmother who laughed.
‘Most evenings,’ her Grandmother said, ‘Khampoo comes into the garden to help me with the new vegetable patch.’
We had driven forty minutes out from Hat Yai town with our healthcare partners from the hospital to visit Khampoo and her family. She lives in a small house that doubles up as a village shop down a narrow lane with her Grandparents and two sisters.
Khampoo being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes last year was life-changing. There was both the emotional impact of having the condition, but also practical changes that the family had to make.
‘The doctor told us how important it was for Khampoo to eat well.’ continued Khampoo’s Grandmother. ‘So we stopped selling surgery drinks and dug a vegetable patch.’
The forbidden fruit
Khampoo’s favourite food is Dragon Fruit. The white, black speckled flesh is delicious, but, unfortunately very high in sugar. It is often seen as a ‘super-food’, but not if you have Type 1 Diabetes.
‘She used to hide the fruit from us and then eat it when no one was looking,’ said her Grandpa. ‘She loved it so much! But now we are more careful.’
Everyone around the table laughed, and Khampoo’s Grandfather, who works night shifts at a gas station, smiled at Khampoo.
A holistic approach to Type 1 Diabetes care
No one case of Type 1 Diabetes is the same. Each young person with Type 1 Diabetes that A4D support has a unique set of circumstance. Even if that is a soft spot for Dragon Fruit.
A4D is charity focused on helping young people with Type 1 Diabetes live a full and active life. One aspect A4D help is through providing free access to Insulin and blood testing equipment. Another is through developmental support that empowers young people to feel confident and independent adults, despite the challenges that they face.
Through A4D Family Visits, we have the ability to not only help to save lives, but transform them as well.
A helping hand
We asked if there was anything, connected with Type 1 Diabetes, that the family would like from us.
‘Every lunchtime, I must go to see Khampoo at school to help her inject insulin,’ said Khampoo’s Grandfather.
At A4D Family Camps, Khampoo and her grandfather learned how to inject insulin and monitor her blood sugar levels. However, Khampoo’s hands are still too small for her to use her insulin injection pen and he must go school every day to help her.
‘If possible,’ continued the Grandpa, ‘we would like her older sister to come to the next A4D Family Camp so that she can learn how to inject her sister.’
The cost of Type 1 Diabetes
Khampoo is on our Sponsor a Child programme. All the costs of Insulin and blood testing equipment, along with other small donations, are provided to them by a single generous donor.
But it was not always like this.
‘If there were no support from A4D, we would suffer,’ says that Grandmother, ‘when she was first diagnosed we had to borrow money from the neighbours. The test strips were so expensive.’
This is common situation for the families that we support. In the UK, the NHS provide insulin and test strips for free, but for many of SE Asia’s poorest families, they simply cannot afford the care.
Type 1 Diabetes: Role Models
We asked if they have any concerns about the future, and the Grandmother said that she is worried Khampoo will not live long because the first doctor told them to expect medical complications.
However, we insisted that if she looks after herself well enough, then she can.
Fiona Ooi, head of A4D operations, showed the family photos of Henry Slade (International Rugby Player) and Theresa May (Politician, UK) who both have Type 1 Diabetes.
The family were surprised and laughed with a newfound optimism.
Exercise is a great way to help control blood sugar levels, so it is a part of Type 1 Diabetes care that we encourage. We often tell our patients of people like Henry Slade, and our co-founder, Jerry Gore, who are very physically active.
Knowing this, Khampoo has now promised that she will start cycling to school again (once her bike has been fixed!)
How can you raise money to support families like Khampoo?
Because of support from A4D, and inspired by A4D Challengers, Khampoo will soon be back on her bike and improving her Type 1 Diabetes management.
This September, supporters from A4D will also be taking up the bike on our annual A4D Cycle Challenge.
We are going to Italy for the ‘Italian Job 2’, for a sponsored ride and aim to raise over $75,000: enough money to support over 150 children with essential medication and support for a whole year.
Become part of our mission to save and transform lives and join us!
A4D is lucky to partner with a fantastic team of committed health professionals at Hat Yai hospital. Lead by Dr Pathikan, a Paediatric Endocrinologist; the team has been invaluable in organising Diabetes Family camps and taking part in patient home visits.
Also, a special thanks to Mr Kai Boris Bendix, Khampoo’s sponsors, who are empowering this young girl to manage her condition.
None of this would be possible without our generous donors, those who give up their time to take on A4D Challenges and those companies like Zuellig Pharma, who offer us fantastic support.
Without your support, Khampoo’s family would not be able to afford the Insulin and Blood testing equipment, but with it, you are helping us to save and transform her life. So, THANK YOU!