Langford girl takes Type 1 to the masses

West Shore family aims to educate about diabetes after daughter diagnosed last year

Maegan Barwis

In a tumble of flying hair and girly giggles two pre-teens wrestle the family dog on the

Barwis family living room floor.

 

Maegan Barwis, Charlie Holborn and Otis enjoy a little post school playtime, but the pink bulk of insulin pump clipped to Maegan’s waistband hints at the extra responsibilities foisted on the 12 year old.

The Langford youth was diagnosed with juvenile, or Type 1, diabetes in March 2011.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables her body to get energy from food.

“If I’m low I feel a certain way. If I’m high I feel a certain way,” she said of her unbalanced levels.

The pink pump helps her keep those sugars in balance.

“For her lunch I have to write the amount of carbs and she does the math to figure it out,” explains mom Leah, of school lunches.

“(The pump) gives me the amount of insulin I need for the amount of carbs I eat,” Maegan adds. She hops to her feet, skips to the dining room and returns with a small black kit. Deftly she unzips then plucks out a test strip to pop in the top of the pump. She pulls a black pen-shaped tool and pokes a finger pushing out a pinprick of blood and swipes it across the test strip.

She bears the extra burden with finesse beyond that of most Grade 7 students.

“The responsibility she has now is a lot more than the average 12 year old,” says dad Brett. “We do put a fair bit on Maeg. Ultimately … she’s the one who has to live with it. We want her to be educated and take ownership of it.”

“Maegan’s very aware of her body. She knows she’s low before she tests and it will wake her up,” Leah adds.

That doesn’t stop dad from waking in the wee hours to check on his little girl, on the odd chance she doesn’t awake.

That fear limits the Langford youth’s sleepovers, though Charlie is among her closest friends, and the one place she likes to overnight.

“That’s the only place I feel safe because she’ll take care of me, almost mothers me,” Maegan says throwing a laugh in Charlie’s direction. Her pal just grins back.

Charlie’s part of the education component of Maegan’s new required lifestyle. She’s among those at É’cole John Stubbs who watched a video when Maegan returned to school.

“When I was first diagnosed we sent in a video for the whole class to watch,” Maegan says.

Education is a priority for the whole family.

“There’s a lack of awareness of how it affects a child and a family,” said Leah who chaired the local fundraising gala, the Promise Ball, last month. “I want to help educate.”

“When a cure is found, we will be taking advantage of it. We want to do our part to make it happen,” Brett adds.

 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Learn more about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation online at www.jdrf.ca.

 

 

Just Posted

Crews search for missing kayaker near Sooke

The person was seen launching their kayak from Beecher Bay on Monday at noon

Langford CPL team a one touch pass away from being a done deal

Hydro pole won’t be moved before inaugural season

BC Supreme Court rules in favour of Victoria’s plastic bag ban

Court dismisses a challenge by the Canadian Plastic Bag Association

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of Victoria couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

Belmont volleyball coach wins coach of the year award

Toakley has racked up five provincial championships, three in the last three years

Homeless people living on ‘Surrey Strip’ move into modular housing

BC Housing says 160 homeless people are being moved into temporary Whalley suites from June 19 to 21

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Police find capsized boat near Tofino, 3 men still missing

Five men were aboard the boat when it sank off Vancouver Island early Monday morning

Most Read