Eighteen hours—that’s how long it took Marie-Christine Gauvin and her boyfriend, Kevin, to drive from her home in Charlo, N.B., to London, Ont.—the home of Banting House National Historic Site (BHNS). But for Marie-Christine, 47, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 15, the trip was worth it. “I have such a deep connection with Sir Frederick Banting,” she says. That’s not surprising: Dr. Banting’s idea led to the discovery of insulin, which has changed the lives of millions, including Marie-Christine, who has no family history of the disease.
But Marie-Christine and many others are making history of their own at “the birthplace of insulin,” with the purchase of a brick in the Global Garden at Banting House National Historic Site. “I wanted a brick so I decided to fundraise for the biggest [one],” says Marie-Christine, who is self-employed and pays for her insulin, and diabetes supplies, including her insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor (CGM), out of her own pocket. For her fundraiser, she made and sold bracelets. When her brick was unveiled on World Diabetes Day (WDD) on November 14 last year, she hosted a walk and did a flash mob to raise awareness in her community, which also had some buildings lit up in blue in honour of WDD. Every year, she continues to create awareness and fundraise throughout the month.
Marie-Christine’s brick says,
I am greater than my highs and my lows. I am greater than type one diabetes.
It’s a testament to her determination to live well with the disease. Every diaversary (her 30th is the next big milestone), she also celebrates the fact that she has not experienced any long-term diabetes complications.“I feel I have to knock on wood!” she says.
Determined in all that she does, she recalls how the power went out on her way upstairs to visit Dr. Banting’s bedroom. “For me, in my mind, Dr. Banting was saying hello,” she says. And then she began her tour using the flashlight on her phone.
Did you know?
Even after 100 years of insulin, 1 in 3 Canadians are living with or at risk of diabetes. We can all play a role in ending diabetes. Whether it’s raising awareness, having your A1C tested, knowing your risk, or supporting research towards a cure—every action, no matter how big or small, makes a difference.
This November during Diabetes Awareness Month help us reach 100,000 actions to End Diabetes. Take action now and share it on diabetes.ca/takeaction #LetEndDiabetes
Author: Denise Barnard
Category Tags: Impact Stories;
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