In My Shoes: Learning more about Type 1 diabetes
After spending several hours job-shadowing Mayor Peter Milobar, Nikki Fredrikson has learned that running the city is a lot of work.
“He’s very busy,” she told KTW. “A very, very busy man, that’s what I can say about him.”
But, the 17 year-old hopes the mayor got a similar message from her about the work that goes into managing her Type 1 diabetes.
Since she was eight, Fredrikson has had to manage a host of factors that can affect her insulin levels, from the more controllable diet and exercise to things like growth spurts and other hormonal changes.
Over the past week, she and five other Kamloops kids with Type 1 diabetes spent the day with a figure in the community with an interesting job as part of the In My Shoes program organized by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Fundraising and development co-ordinator Shianne Carswell said the program gives kids a chance to connect with interesting people, while spreading awareness about a disease that is still misunderstood.
Carswell said many people aren’t aware that Type 1 diabetes — which is usually diagnosed in childhood — isn’t preventable.
“It’s not something that lifestyle has any part of,” she said.
“It doesn’t have to do with how much sugar their parents gave them or the exercise amount. It’s something they have no control over. Their pancreas stops producing insulin for no good reason.”
During their day together, Fredrikson and Milobar talked about how she manages the disease and, in return, the mayor gave her some tips on running for council.
The two also attended a bank opening, where she had a chance to meet other members of council, along with Kamloops’ MLAs and MP.
“It was interesting to see how she manages day-to-day, in terms of something as simple as we were at the Bank of Montreal and they’re handing out cake to everybody as part of a grand opening celebration, and how does that all work?” said Milobar.
“There’s a little more awareness that way.”
“It was really cool because I got to see every angle of his job,” added Fredrikson.
As for running for council, it’s something she’d consider.
“I love Kamloops so much. It’s something I’d think about doing, but I think I’d need to be way more involved to put that on my plate.”
The In My Shoes participants will meet again on Sunday, June 10, for the Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes at McDonald Park in North Kamloops.
Pledge drop-off begins at 9 a.m., while the walk itself gets underway at 11 a.m.
There will also be plenty of kids’ activities, including face painting, a bouncy tent and live shows from the Big Little Science Centre and Cuz I’m Magic.
“It’s really meant to be a family day, to have all the families that have kids with Type 1 Diabetes together and give them a day that’s fun for them and inspiring,” said Carswell.
To register for the walk, go online to jdrf.ca/walk.