Neighbours helping diabetic neighbour

Man with diabetic condition requires an expensive insulin pump

Friends of a local man suffering from Type 1 diabetes have organized a fundraising effort on his behalf to purchase life changing medical equipment.

Dale Stewart, 45, doesn’t remember the last time he had a good night’s rest.

“I don’t want to exaggerate, but it’s a nightmare — it’s a waking nightmare. I literally am afraid to go to sleep because that’s when most of the problems happen,” he said.

On average, Stewart is treated by paramedics after going into hypoglycaemic shock 10 times a year. Ninety per cent of the time these visits are paid during the night.

Although his health is a large concern, Stewart places the priority on his four-year-old daughter, who he doesn’t want to witness an emergency rescue scene.

“I want to be around for her and I do not want her to see the stress and drama of paramedics barging through the door with all their gear,” he said. “It’s not about me anymore.”

Stewart was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of four. He has since undergone 15 eye surgeries due to diabetic complications, and is on preventive heart and stroke medication.

One thing that would provide peace of mind to Stewart, his family and friends would be an insulin pump.

The small, battery operated machine delivers small amounts of insulin through a needle under the skin 24 hours a day. According to Stewart, the minute doses of insulin allow the body to adapt evenly and smoothly — a large improvement to seven or eight large doses of insulin via injection.

The pump is manually programmed according to blood sugar levels, which would still be done through the standard finger poke.

“It doesn’t solve all my night time worries, but it certainly reduces the chances significantly,” he said. “It’s not a cure, but they’re the next best thing at this point in time.”

The pump itself costs between $6,000-7,000, plus an addition $1,200 for supplies. Pumps must be replaced every five to six years.

The pumps are not covered by provincial healthcare for adults over the age of 18, so friends of Stewart have arranged a fundraising effort to raise $7,000.

So far, half of the funds have been raised through the sale of a vehicle and garage sale.

“Having some really wonderful people put all this together and start the fund-raising effort on my behalf is pretty humbling,” Stewart said.

Heather Strange, helped organized the event, and has arranged for a $50 needs vs wants challenge, where residents are encouraged to forgo luxuries like daily lattes to donate to the insulin pump fund.

“There is a difference between having a need, and a want, so basically we put the challenge out to our friends and family,” Strange said. “For one month (April), let’s just go and ignore our wants and just live on our needs.”

Donations can be made at any Royal Bank branch to the transit #05050 and account #5028063. Identification names are Heather Strange and Dale Stewart.