Outpouring of support on Twitter for boy struggling with type 1 diabetes

Posted on 20 December 2018

A tweet for type 1 diabetes support

A mother received a huge response after asking for help on Twitter for her 10-year-old son, Oliver, who is struggling with his type 1 diabetes.

Jenny Carr posted a tweet saying how heartbroken she was to hear Oliver saying he hates his life because he has the condition.

The response she got included messages of encouragement from actor James Norton; former Pakistan cricketer, Wasim Akram; the type 1 diabetes professional cyclists, Team Novo Nordisk as well as an offer of support from Mohammad Ali, the UK’s first pro boxer with type 1, and a visit to the Sky studios from news presenter Stephen Dixon.

Here she tells us how the 188 responses she received have helped her and Oliver to think more positively:

Oliver had been having a rough patch with his sugars being all over the place for a while. He plays a lot of sport and during a football match we had struggled to get his levels above four. Then that evening they shot up. Oliver asked for a couple of cookies but I had to say no, which led to him having a meltdown, saying how he hated his life and hated diabetes.

It was awful for us to hear that and we didn’t know what to say that would be able to change anything really.  We run a cycling club to improve awareness and raise funds for JDRF because that’s the only thing we feel we can do – and is our way of coping. If we could take type 1 diabetes away from Oliver and have it instead of him, we would.

Later that night I just had this spur of the moment thought to put it on Twitter and see if anyone responds. We tell Oliver all the time what a hero he is coping with it, but as his parents it doesn’t have quite the same impact.

So I wrote my tweet and have been overwhelmed ever since. It just shows what an amazing community there is out there, and knowing that there are other people going through what we’re going through really helps.

Raising awareness

The other thing that really surprised me was how many of my friends on Twitter, people from the cricket club and football club, didn’t know that Oliver lives with type 1 diabetes and has these struggles. Hearing their messages of support and asking us why we hadn’t mentioned it has been just as valuable.

Also, they want to know more, they are so interested. I am all for raising awareness, although Oliver prefers to keep it quiet and not reveal it straight away.

I have shown Oliver all the tweets and told him it’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it’s easier to talk about things. Hopefully he’s turned a corner now and realised that it’s not stopped other people from doing things, and that everyone has a bad day – this was one of those times.

We have talked to Oliver about his feelings, but things build up. What he will have hopefully learnt is there will always be days when it will get to him, but talking about it will help.

I will say though that life with type 1 diabetes is not a breeze and even professional sports people, despite having a great team around them, must have bad days too.

So while the positive messages are really helpful, it is also good to hear more voices about the challenges as well.

A lot of the time I find it really hard to be positive but it does help to know there is a strong and supportive community out there, whenever we need it.”

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