According to the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF’s) Diabetes Atlas, India stands second amongst the top ten countries for the number of children with type 1 diabetes (0 to 14 years) and the numbers are increasing by around 3 per cent every year, particularly among children.
With an aim to raise awareness regarding on type 1 diabetes (T1D) – Diabetes India, Udaan and Sanofi India have come up with a unique initiative called ‘OneUp’ gave an opportunity to children to up their fitness levels. 23 children and young adults (aged 16-22 years) from 13 cities like Belgaum, Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Kanpur, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Aurangabad , Jammu and Mumbai, across India, will participate in a two-day trek from October 6 to 8 at Kalsubai Peak in Igatpuri, the highest peak in Maharashtra.
Let’s take the case of Nakul Tiwari from Aurangabad. Tiwari is an avid cricketer and has played at district level. He was detected with type 1 diabetes when he was 8-years-old. It has been 11 years, since he has diabetes. He takes 5 insulin shots per day and his diabetes is in control now.
“I am very happy to participate in this trek. I want to meet the other kids and improve my fitness. Moreover, I want to tell people that even though we have diabetes we can do everything.”
Another 17 year-old trekker Manjusha Barve from Aurangabad who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 13, takes 4 to 5 insulin shots per day and her diabetes is in control now. “It’s a nice feeling to participate in this trek. It is something new for me. I feel that if diabetics can do then why not others. So nothing should stop you. Don’t take tension. Live happily, said Manjusha”
Dr. Archana Sarda, a leading Endocrinologist will be closely monitoring the children during the trek. She runs an NGO dedicated to people Type 1 Diabetes, Udaan. “One up’ initiative is a type 1 diabetes (T1D) challenge which is a global phenomenon. We are setting out to prove that a person with T1D can do whatever they want in life and fulfil their dreams. We are taking a challenge of trekking high,” she said.
She explained that the trek will bring in positivity and confidence for them. “When someone with the ailment is put in the wilderness with 23 other such kids, it boosts the confidence and removes the fear of anything in life.”
When we think of diabetes, one of the most obvious thing that comes to our head is diet restrictions and medicines. This trek will be taking care of each of these needs, assured Dr Sarda.
“I am a medical practitioner, so I made sure all arrangements are in place. Physicians, surgeons, ambulance and all the emergency needs will be taken care of. Meals too, will be very structured. Each of the kid’s diabetes level will be checked at regular intervals, at least 7 times a day.”
N Rajaram, Country Head and General Manager, pharmaceutical operations, Sanofi India said, “The trek stems from a larger plan. The idea is to ensure that a god lifestyle can help everybody equally well. With a healthy, monitored as well as a fit lifestyle, even someone with a T1D can achieve everything.”
Guide during the trek: The trekkers have been evaluated before including them for the trek.
Children will have to check their blood sugar at least 7 times a day: before and after all meals and also before bedtime.
The organizers have carefully planned all the meals – ensuring there is enough protein and carb, e.g. fruit, egg etc.
The KOLs will familiarize themselves with all the children’s profiles before going on the trek – to understand how different kids may respond to the trek. Who may need extra monitoring, etc. After a steep climb etc, they may be asked to check blood sugar.
Around 86,000 children develop T1D each year.
When insulin is not available, the life expectancy for a child with T1D is very short
However, the spirit of these young people during the 2 days trek will help spread the powerful message with timely diagnosis and management, children with T1D do not need to limit themselves.
They can push their boundaries to explore things they once thought were insurmountable.