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Mothers of Misfits
47: Parenting a Child with Type 1 Diabetes | Helen Wills

47: Parenting a Child with Type 1 Diabetes | Helen Wills

chronic disease diabetes Jan 19, 2021

Helen Wills‘ daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 9. Helen shares the realities of living with Type 1 Diabetes, the added worries of having a child with the condition, and the misunderstandings people place on those who have to manage it.


  • “She was still very healthy and very well. So, had I not already had a friend whose child had diabetes, I perhaps would have persevered quite a long time before I’d taken her to the doctor.” – Helen Wills
  • “What people don’t realize is that diabetes can kill. If it’s left untreated and undetected, it kills.” – Helen Wills
  • “Technology is our best hope as a community of Type 1 Diabetics, not a cure.” – Helen Wills
  • “Before she had the glucose monitor that I can see on my phone, I would get up in the night at 3:00 AM and go and prick her fingers to find out what her blood sugar level was.” – Helen Wills
  • “You know you’re right, you just know you’re misunderstood, and that’s hard.” – Helen Wills
  • “I find this with schools, even very good schools, which both of our schools have been: In general, they come at things that are different with a view to minimizing disruption in their day, their time, and the other children’s situations. I understand why they do it, but it really is distressing for parents of children who need something different.” – Helen Wills
  • “Of course we’re respectful, of course we’re trying to collaborate and partner wherever we can. But there are some moments where, you know, we just need to push and fight until we get the result we know is right for our kids.” – Emily Melious
  • “It is going to be okay, it’s going to be more than okay. Your child will learn to live with this and do probably more with their lives as a result of it, than they ever imagined doing before. Because the resilience that they learn and the strength and the self-confidence that they have in themselves at a much younger age will carry them there.” – Helen Wills


  • 1:03 – Being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes
  • 4:53 – How common is Type 1 Diabetes among children?
  • 6:28 – Living with Type 1 Diabetes
  • 11:15 – Processing the diagnosis as a child
  • 13:07 – Having a child with Type 1 Diabetes
  • 14:41 – Misunderstandings of childhood Type 1 Diabetes
  • 19:45 – Working with the school system and diabetes
  • 25:05 – Advice for parents who have a child with Type 1 Diabetes
  • 27:21 – Connect with Helen


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