A Cloverdale kid plans to camp out to raise funds for juvenile diabetes research.
Peyton Slind, a Grade 7 student at Don Christian Elementary School, was diagnosed with diabetes last year now he’s trying to help find a cure.
Slind is a Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) youth ambassador and is part of the organization’s “Let’s Make History Again” campaign. The campaign is raising money to fund type-one diabetes research (T1D) with an emphasis on finding a cure.
“I am a JDRF Youth Ambassador,” Slind wrote in an email to the Cloverdale Reporter. “I want to help kids and adults around the world be able to say, ‘I USED to have Diabetes!’”
Slind said he just wanted to do his part to help. For him, that meant applying to be a youth ambassador. He set up donation page and plans to camp out in April. As of publication time, he’d raised 90 per cent of his $2,000 goal.
The youth ambassador campaign is part of a wider country-wide initiative to accelerate the pace of T1D research. Five people will also sit atop 40-foot flagpoles for 100 hours from April 4 - 8 in Toronto (2), Calgary, Montreal, and Vancouver (at 200 Granville Street) as they help raise $15 million for research.
“’Let’s Make History Again’ is truly a rallying cry for all Canadians who have been impacted by diabetes,” Dave Prowten, president of JDRF Canada, said in a press release March 10. “While the discovery of insulin in Canada 100 years ago has saved millions of lives, it is still only a treatment and not a cure.”
Prowten said the milestone offers a moment to reflect on the last 100 years and to look ahead with the hope of finding a cure.
“Not only will this propel us forward in finding a cure for the disease, but it’s incredibly inspiring to see so many Canadians and families galvanized by this cause that touches the lives of so many.”
Slind’s part of the campaign, along with 99 other youth ambassadors, is to raise pledges and go on a camp out.
“For this fundraiser, my dad and I are going on an overnight hike to Halfmoon Beach in Alouette Provincial Park,” said Slind. “Due to the season, we can’t go too high due to snow, which is why we picked one with a lot of distance.”
Slind said they’ll hike the 19 km trail, with a 400 metre elevation, April 7 and come back the next day.
Slind said his life was turned upside down last summer. In July he was diagnosed with type-one diabetes.
“It all started when my mom started to notice I was peeing a lot. And I mean A LOT,” he wrote. “She had scheduled an appointment with our family doctor and there he told me that my sugar levels were very high and that I might have diabetes.”
Slind’s mom took him straight for testing and they went home to wait for the results.
“It was a long night,” he remembered. “That night my sister, mom, and I slept in a fort we built out of brooms and blankets. And then, at twelve o’clock at night, my dad got a phone call telling us to go to the hospital.”
Slind ended up staying in the hospital for a week. It was COVID and only his mom and dad were allowed into the hospital room to see him.
“It was the longest week of my life, but I got through it and learned more about diabetes in one week than I had learned my entire life.”
After Slind got back home, it wasn’t easy for him at first.
“I felt homebound and vulnerable,” he recalled. “I didn’t know my limits, but once I got technology like the Dexcom G6 and my Tandem T: Slim X2 Insulin pump, I realized I didn’t have limits, I just had to work a little harder to do some things than others.”
Now Slind imagines a future without diabetes.
“I would love to dive into the diabetes community and do as much as I can to turn type one into type none!”
According to jdrf.ca, the organization is the “leader in research leading to a cure for type 1 diabetes in the world. It sets the global agenda for diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide.”
Slind’s fundraiser can be found by visiting the JDRF’s fundraising page and searching “Peyton Slind.”