My Role Model – my sister Jess
Growing up I had the best life. I was constantly surrounded by friends and family and I was always active. Family holidays were never the usual trip away with your parents and siblings. Often it was for sport and there were always at least five other families with us.
Life felt so easy back then. I was a young kid who loved my sport, enjoyed school and loved my circle of people. Everything was carefree. When I think of my childhood, I only have happy memories. However, even at a young age I was aware things weren’t always easy.
“Jess has always been my role model from a young age and it now inspires me to think how she never complained about all her health issues that started from a young age. I have always admired her resilience. ”
A few years down the track I was walking home from school with my childhood best friend, Kate Fenton. For some reason Kate’s mum, Audrey picked us both up that day. At first I was stoked because it meant I didn’t need to walk home. I thought it meant I was going to go to Kate’s house and they always had the best food….as in a whole pantry of chocolate. However, as I got into the back of Audrey’s car she told me we were heading into the hospital because Jess was in there. She then told me Jess has Type 1 diabetes. I remember trying to hold back all my tears. I started crying.
I had no idea what Type 1 diabetes was and all I was thinking about was will my sister die from this. Audrey quickly reassured me she will be ok. Jess was lucky. She was 13 and weighed about 33kg and was one week off collapsing as her blood sugar levels were 27 when she was diagnosed. She was so tired and had blurry vision and headaches. She had the next six weeks off school. Again Jess never complained and took everything in her stride. She never asked Mum and Dad to do anything for her and she was so independent throughout it all. From such a young age Jess faced certain health issues that never really seemed to get her down.
Part of that is because she had this passion for sport and she knew that if she could manage things well she would be able to do what she loved.
“It’s so important to have a passion because it gives us something to look forward to. ”
Secondly, we also grew up in a family who were always extremely grateful for what we had. My great grandma always played the ‘Glad Game’ which came from the Pollyanna books by Eleanor H. Porter. You would always think of everything you were grateful for. Often she would play this game in times of struggle and when faced with adversity.
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