For low-income families, a life-long disease like Type 1 diabetes can be emotionally challenging and become a huge financial burden. Many parents feel anxious, helpless, and even guilty when their child is diagnosed with diabetes.

Cici was diagnosed in October 2010. Her mum May Yeung shares her experience with Cici’s diagnosis and how the YDA Sponsor a Child programme has made a difference to their lives.

“In October 2010 when Cici was four years old, she fell into a coma at home and was sent to the Baptist Hospital where she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and ketoacidosis. She was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital; we nearly lost her. I was really scared. Cici stayed in hospital for a month. I was still learning to take care of her, when I was diagnosed with cancer. It was a difficult time, and particularly hard during chemotherapy. When Cici was in kindergarten, I took her downstairs to the school bus. I walked slowly, and struggled to walk home.

Dr. Lee from Princess Margaret Hospital introduced YDA to me very early on. However, it wasn’t until 2017 – more than seven years after Cici’s diagnosis and when I felt better – that we officially joined YDA. The YDA social workers were very kind and enthusiastic. They often called to chat and cared about me, and would always take the time explain things that I didn’t understand.

YDA’s Sponsor a Child Programme has really helped me a lot. Being a single-parent, it hugely reduced the financial pressures I faced. At that time, Cici used the finger prick method to measure her blood sugar, and Programme covered almost 80% of the medical supply’s expenses. Many thanks to YDA.

In recent months, we switched to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which is more expensive. However, it is much more convenient to use, and I can feel more at ease. It costs about $520 for 12 days. Cici can easily scan her blood sugar levels before eating, and her blood sugar can be stabilised if necessary.

I must be strong – how could I take care of my child if I am not?

My situation was rather unique because I was also diagnosed with a severe illness, and it happened only a month after Cici’s diagnosis. At the beginning, I felt that the sky was falling. I wondered why it was happening? But there is no way out, I had to be strong! I must take good care of my own body in order to take care of my child. It was just this idea that kept me going. It’s been a really difficult ten years. However, I have come to understand that parents of children with Type 1 diabetes must be strong. The initial diagnosis was such a shock and so overwhelming, in order to take care of my child, I needed to toughen up.

I feel that now, all is well!

My advice to other parents is don’t feel pity towards your child because they have diabetes. Cici is the same as any other child, she just needs to controls what she eats and monitors her blood sugar. Cici was very good at sports when she was in primary school. She won championships every year, and she was in the top three in secondary school. Cici’s ambition is to be a doctor, and she hopes to help those in need when she grows up.

My greatest comfort is that Cici can take care of herself now, I don’t have to worry – she is strong. Additionally, having attentive social workers who care about us has really helped – thank you YDA for your support.”

You can help make a difference

Multiple daily blood tests and insulin injections are essential for people with Type 1 diabetes. With no sufficient support from the government, families of children with diabetes are under tremendous emotional and financial pressure. It is often a struggle to purchase the most basic medical equipment. Unfortunately, it is not a cost that can be overlooked. It is needed for children with Type 1 diabetes, in order for them to stay alive.

It is important that children with diabetes are able to access the supplies they need. Please help and support children with diabetes like Cici, so they can receive the necessary medical equipment and emotional support to manage their diabetes and live a healthy life.

For only $33 per day ($12,000 per year), your donation to “Sponsor a Child” can:

  • help families with limited income save up to 60% on monthly medical expenses
  • minimise the need to reuse blood-taking lancets and needles
  • connect them with others facing the same challenges
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