Our Back To School "Diabuddies" Tour continues! Today, Dessi Zaharieva, World Championship bronze medalist in Taekwondo joined in to speak at Bialik Hebrew Day School. They greeted us with open arms and show a tremendous amount of support to their students to ensure they have a quality education, including how they live with challenges.
Dessi's Diabuddy, Jojo, is in grade 3 and he got to meet Dessi at York U Diabetes Sports camp with our team and take a tour of her lab where she studies how to prevent low blood sugars in exercise. Her view on kids in school started all the way back in grade 4 when she remembers being diagnosed and going back to class to an onslaught of questions about the disease she was still not sure how to live with for the rest of her life.
Dessi's message was about team work, perseverance, and positivity, along with the details of diabetes that can help keep Jojo safe. The questions from the students were excellent and helped remove misconceptions and Jojo was very brave, standing up to show his technology and explain some of his symptoms to help his classmates understand. It was touching that another two children in his school, who have other medical conditions, made a special point of expressing their appreciation and connection with the message.
All the kids also loved seeing Dessi's massive bronze medal. A big thank you goes out to Dessi for her commitment to this cause! Would you want to have Dessi come out to your school? Do you have a good relationship with your school about your child's diabetes care?
If you don't have a good relationship or don't know how to start one, this project is for you! Thanks to our action plan committee members and to schools like Bialik who are leading the way until Ontario implements a policy for these kids.
-Author Chris Jarvis