Welcome to our second Global Postcard! Today we’re hearing from Carrie Hetherington from New Zealand and how she made living with diabetes a positive journey through being a fierce diabetes advocate.
I too, like many others, have an annoying cloud called diabetes hanging over my head. It just floats around like my useless pancreas. But yes, I’m about to use that terrible cliché! Mine definitely has a silver lining.
I was so shy at school, I’d rather slide under my desk than answer a question in class. Look at me now, I’ve been able to travel the world as an advocate and speak to audiences about diabetes. Suddenly I’m thanking those weak beta cells for making me an alpha! After years of hearing children say they wished they were ‘normal’ and hiding their diabetes I decided I wanted to do something about it. Along came my precious creation, Little Lisette.
The premise of the story is something we can all relate to, young or old. She goes to a birthday party and her worst nightmare comes true, a hypo strikes. She has a choice to make, treat it in public or ignore it and hope it goes away. Despite us shouting through the book at her, she refuses to let her new friends see that she has diabetes.
In the end she faces her fears and discovers that everybody actually wants to know about her glucose tester, they love her just the way she is. Little Lisette gains courage and bravery and it was my hope that the children reading the book do the same.
After I’d finished the book I decided to take things a step further and teamed up with my friend Adejumo Hakeem. We used all the proceeds to help children with diabetes in his country, Nigeria. It was a winning combination, a reader would be inspired by Little Lisette and subsequently a child in Nigeria would receive diabetes supplies they would otherwise be unable to afford. The process of writing to help others was so rewarding and the feedback we had from both the readers and the children in Nigeria made it all worthwhile.
Adejumo and I are hoping to continue to help children and adults alike to be courageous and embrace diabetes just as we have. Keep your eyes peeled for the next book… I’m waiting on the final illustrations and feel very excited to share a little blue monster with the world!
Read more about Carrie’s second book here.