Monday, 18 November 2013

Raising Awareness: The Diabetes Awareness Badge.

On Friday, in light of World Diabetes Day, fellow Brownie leader and pancreatically-challenged friend, Alice, and I arranged a Diabetes Awareness Night for the Brownies. I'm very happy to report it was a success, and we will be carrying out part two this coming Friday.

To begin, we asked the Brownies if they knew anyone with diabetes, and then what they already knew about diabetes. For those of you that don't know, here is where I should probably tell you Brownies are aged 7 - 10. I was surprised by what they did know. One girl told the group that there were two types of diabetes (I know there's also type 1.5, but for a 9 year old, that's good going) and another knew about sugar testing. Following this, we explained that "Little Owl" (myself) and "Snowy Owl" (Alice) has diabetes.

To explain what diabetes actually is, we had the girls demonstrate what happened in the body: one group acting as the mouth, one a muscle, one the pancreas and the last group was split into two, sugar (glucose) and insulin. The "sugar" walked through the mouth down to the pancreas, where they were paired with "insulin". Because they were paired with insulin, the muscle let them through. We then repeated this, but the "sugar" wasn't paired with the "insulin", so couldn't get through to the muscle. I don't know if this is well-explained in writing, but it seemed to work. The girls understood the difference anyway, and that's what counts!

Finally, we made a game which made the girls think about all the decisions Alice and I have to make as a result of living with type one diabetes. They were given scenarios all of which required a blood sugar check. They had to take a number from the top of the pile and then had a prompt sheet telling them what the numbers meant and how to react to them. They really enjoyed it, and in doing this, they got to see insulin pens, glucose meter, pumps, hypo treatments. With this game, I think it was the other adults that we work with that were more shocked; they see us checking blood sugars and injecting/pumping insulin, but to see how it's a factor in everything was quite eye-opening for them. 

Next week, we're going to follow this up with healthy eating, mainly looking at the sugar content of different foods and are also going to do a sugar vs. sweetener taste test.
At the end, all the girls will receive the Diabetes Awareness Badge. It's definitely one of my favourites on my blanket! 

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