Girl takes di­a­betes cam­paign to Ottawa

12-year-old grand­daugh­ter of West Kelowna city coun­cil­lor lob­bies fed­eral politi­cians

The Daily Courier - - FRONT PAGE - By BARB AGUIAR

West Kelowna’s Arielle Find­later is mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in the fight to cure and pre­vent Type 1 di­a­betes after trav­el­ling to Par­lia­ment Hill in Ottawa to lobby mem­bers of Par­lia­ment and senators.

The 12-year-old was among 28 young peo­ple se­lected from across Canada to take part in the Ju­ve­nile Di­a­betes Re­search Foun­da­tion’s Kids for a Cure Lobby Day at the end of Oc­to­ber.

Find­later, grand­daugh­ter of Coun. Doug Find­later, met with par­lia­men­tar­i­ans and showed them her scrap­book that doc­u­ments her di­ag­no­sis and her life with Type 1 di­a­betes to in­form them and put a face to the dis­ease.

The group of young peo­ple had 90 meet­ings with more than 100 par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, in­clud­ing the min­is­ters of health and na­tional rev­enue and a dozen senators.

The kids asked for sup­port for the foun­da­tion’s rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing: amend­ing the In­come Tax Act to clar­ify that car­bo­hy­drate cal­cu­la­tion is part of cal­cu­lat­ing in­sulin dosage, mak­ing it an el­i­gi­ble ac­tiv­ity for the dis­abil­ity tax credit; a na­tional di­a­betes reg­istry for Type 1 di­a­betes pa­tients; in­clud­ing var­i­ous types of in­sulin un­der na­tional phar­ma­care pro­grams; and new fund­ing for re­search aimed at cur­ing, pre­vent­ing and treat­ing the dis­ease.

Find­later met with Cathy McLeod, mem­ber of Par­lia­ment for Kam­loops-Thomp­son-Cari­bou; El­iz­a­beth May, MP for Saanich-Gulf Is­lands and leader of the Green Party of Canada; Dan Al­bas, MP for Cen­tral Okana­gan-Sim­ilka­meen-Nicola; So­nia Sidhu, mem­ber for Bramp­ton South; and Senator Yonah Martin.

Find­later said she liked Al­bas the best be­cause he was su­per friendly and the only one who took notes.

Arielle was seven years old when she was di­ag­nosed with Type 1 di­a­betes, an au­toim­mune dis­ease in which the pan­creas stops pro­duc­ing in­sulin, a hor­mone that al­lows peo­ple to get en­ergy from food. There was no his­tory of the dis­ease in her fam­ily. “It just came out of nowhere,” said Arielle’s fa­ther, Dave, who ac­com­pa­nied his daugh­ter to Ottawa.

“Ev­ery­thing’s dif­fer­ent,” Arielle said about her life after be­ing di­ag­nosed. “Ev­ery day, we have to car­b­count tons.”

Count­ing car­bo­hy­drates de­ter­mines how much in­sulin Find­later needs.

Find­later’s scrap­book doc­u­ments the weeks she spent in Kelowna Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal after she was di­ag­nosed, her time at di­a­betic camp, where she could re­lax and have fun with other Type 1 kids, as well as statis­tics in­clud­ing the more than 10,000 nee­dles she used the first year she was di­ag­nosed.

Find­later uses a num­ber of gad­gets to help keep her blood su­gar in check, in­clud­ing an in­sulin pump.

She en­ters how many car­bo­hy­drates she ate, the pump does most of the math and shoots in­sulin through a cord into a site on her stom­ach.

It’s an im­prove­ment on the mul­ti­ple daily in­jec­tions she en­dured be­fore getting the pump.

Find­later also has a con­stant glu­cose mon­i­tor that looks like an iPod at­tached to the back of her arm. She still has to prick her fin­ger to test her blood su­gar, but not as of­ten.

Find­later mat­ter-of-factly shows how she tests her blood su­gar us­ing a de­vice with an in­finites­i­mally thin nee­dle to poke her fin­ger to ex­tract a drop of blood to test.

Back home in West Kelowna, Find­later said she feels she made a big dif­fer­ence. She will con­tinue her ad­vo­cacy at lo­cal fundrais­ing events, such as the ju­ve­nile di­a­betes walk and the an­nual gala, in the hope of some­day be­ing able to snow­board, play soc­cer or go swim­ming with­out hav­ing to deal with low blood su­gar.

For Find­later, a cure would mean no more fin­ger pokes, no more nee­dles and no more getting up dur­ing the night for a juice box be­cause of her blood su­gar.

“We’re ac­tu­ally in a po­si­tion now that we could see di­a­betes cured or a com­pletely rev­o­lu­tion­ary type of man­age­ment hit our doorsteps within her life­time,” said Dave.

Spe­cial to The Okana­gan Week­end

Arielle Find­later, 12, shows off the scrap­book she made and brought to Par­lia­ment Hill in Oc­to­ber as part of the Ju­ve­nile Di­a­betes Re­search Foun­da­tion’s Kids for a Cure Lobby Day.

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