Celebrating a Child's Diabetes Diagnosis Day

The day a child receives a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes is memorable for both the parents and the diagnosed child.

Some families choose to celebrate the diagnosis date annually. Families have found some fun and creative ways to commemorate a diabetes anniversary, or "dia-versary."

Obviously, people are not celebrating diabetes on their dia-versary; they celebrate managing the symptoms another year, though they would rather not have to.

Whether a family observes a diagnosis anniversary is a personal decision. Some consider the day too sad or traumatic to commemorate.

Rewarding Resilience

Celebrating successful diabetes management is not a new concept. Starting in 1947, Elliot Joslin – who had treated diabetes patients since the 1890s – gave a Victory Medal to patients who had diabetes for 25 years or more and were in good health.

The word “VICTORY” was inscribed at the top of Joslin's medal, above a chariot pulled by three horses. Written below the chariot were three words: “INSULIN EXERCISE DIET.”

Another Joslin medal created in the 1950s depicted a boy and dog in a small boat; the sun at the horizon behind them. The caption read “EXPLORERS OF UNCHARTED SEAS.”

There are still some clinics, companies and organizations that give medals to people who have lived 50 years with type 1 diabetes.

How Families Celebrate

Celebrating diagnosis day is a classic example of being handed lemons and deciding to make lemonade. On a child’s diagnosis day, families tend to focus on the accomplishments, strengths and feelings of the person with diabetes. It is also a time of expressing thankfulness for progress made and for those who helped make the progress possible.

Giving Back

Some parents help their child create a fundraising opportunity for diabetes research, such as a lemonade stand or a car wash. The money earned might be donated to the JDRF.

Other families purchase toys and distribute them at their child’s hospital on anniversary day or spend time visiting and encouraging children in the hospital with type 1 complications. A parent might choose to honor their child by using diagnosis day to educate the child’s classmates about type 1 diabetes.

Acknowledging Tenacity

Recognizing a child’s progress and strength is done by creating a special dinner at home, going out for a memorable meal, or spending a day doing something fun. A family picnic, an afternoon at the spa, going to a ball game – whatever the child enjoys to do.

Another way of acknowledging a child’s strength is choosing an activity that the child might have initially believed would be impossible with diabetes. For instance, spending the day at a water park or the beach. These activities can empower the entire family.

Although children are resilient and strong, having diabetes is frustrating. Some parents use diagnosis day to recognize this.

"Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start." – Nido Qubein

Sources: t1 everyday magic; diatribe
Photo credit: Dan Zen / flickr creative commons

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