Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 7th 2013 Contents TAUREEF MOHAMMED
Alvin Daniel always believed dia-
betes was an "old-people" disease,
until his five-year-old son, Alvin
Gabriel Daniel, was diagnosed with
it about three weeks ago.
"He was always tired, used to pee
his bed a lot, used to drink a lot of
water, but we thought that was nor-
mal," Daniel said, in an interview
with the T&T Guardian. He was
speaking at the Diabetes Associa-
tion s (Datt) 13th Annual Camp for
Children with Diabetes at the Uni-
versity of the Southern Caribbean,
Maracas, St Joseph.
Gabriel s teacher complained to
his parents that he was lazy and
needed to go to bed earlier, Daniel
"I bouffed him up for that and
told him he shouldn t be
behaving like that in
school," he said.
Daniel, a photog-
cover Datt s
posium on Diabetes on June 15.
Admitting he did not usually pay
attention to what was happening at
assignments, Daniel said, "What
caught me was that little children
could get diabetes and someone
could be born with it."
After the symposium, Daniel said,
he saw his son differently.
"I found he looked like a sick,
He remembered hearing
something at the sympo-
sium about drinking plenty
of water. He began put-
ting the pieces
later, one of his
relatives died from
"That came like a shocker. I said,
Something wrong. "
He googled "symptoms of dia-
betes" and found his son had every
His wife cried when she realised
Gabriel might be diabetic.
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"Oh, that thing? You can have it for
A man who discovered an Andy
Warhol drawing at a rummage sale in
Las Vegas is selling his unique piece
for US$1.9 million on eBay.
Andy Fields, 49, picked up what
experts are calling a previously
unknown work by Warhol, drawn
when he was just ten or 11 years old,
for less than US$5.
The pencil and graphite pop art
piece dates back to the 1930s and
features a portrait of American
entertainer Rudy Vallee with bright
red lips and a checkered background.
So why is this classic work available
As it turns out, the piece has not
been officially validated as a Warhol
The drawing was never validated by
the now defunct Warhol
Authentication Board, which formerly
approved Warhol works.
This left Fields with the mission to
seek out a stamp of approval from
Warhol drawing purchased for US$5 now selling for millions
Zobida Ragbirsingh, Datt's
president and a registered nurse,
started the camp 13 years ago.
Known as "Aunty Zobida" and
"Mommy No 2" by the campers,
she said the last 13 years have
been among her most fulfilling.
"When they come on camp they
don't know how to test their
sugar, don't know how to inject
themselves, don't know how to
manage their diabetes,"
Ragbirsingh said in an interview at
the camp. "They learn all about
diabetes when they come here."
Testing blood sugar on time,
storing insulin, measuring the
dosage, filling the syringes,
injecting themselves at the right
spots, eating the right portions
and exercising regularly were
among the skills all the children
learnt, as well as nutrition,
optometry and the physiology of
These diabetic children,
Ragbirsingh said, could teach
adults, who find it very difficult to
manage their diabetes.
"Our children could show the
nation how painless it is to take
insulin, how many times they have
to test and how to manage
Pointing out that children are
very receptive to learning at an
early age, she said, "They will
make a difference because they
go home and tell their parents.
'We don't want that, we want this,
this isn't healthy.'"
Ultimately, she said, she wanted
to prepare the children to fight
their own cause after attending
the camp. As if their medical
condition was not enough,
psychosocial problems caused by
society's ignorance were among
their biggest problems,
During group therapy, five
campers revealed they had tried
to kill themselves, she said. One
boy had to change schools
because of teasing.
"Miss put me in the room, she
say I can't do sports because I
sick," the children would tell her.
In light of this, Datt recently
launched a Diabetes Education
Awareness in Primary Schools
(DEAPS). Diabetes manuals were
distributed to standard three
students and quizzes were set for
them. Minister of Health Dr Fuad
Khan has expressed willingness to
make the programme nationwide,
Facts about Type 1 Diabetes
• It is a chronic illness caused by the body's inability to produce insulin,
a hormone which regulates blood sugar levels.
• As of 2010, there were more than 450 children with Type 1 diabetes
• It is most common in children, but can also develop in adults in their
late 30s and 40s.
• Classical symptoms include: excessive urination, increased thirst,
excessive eating and unexplained weight loss.
• Other symptoms are fatigue, nausea, blurred vision and yeast
infection in girls.
• Type 1 diabetics require lifelong insulin therapy.
( From Medscape; Mayo Clinic; Nicholls, 2010, Ministry of Health)
CAMP HELPS CHILDREN COPE
Seven-year-old Curtis Cummings gives himself an insulin shot at the Diabetes Association of T&T's Annual Diabetes
• Continued on Page B2
diabetes in children
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