Oratorical contest for those with juvenile diabetes held

The world did not come to an end for R. Velmuthu (15) of Tondiarpet who was diagnosed as having Type 1 insulin-dependent diabetes three years ago. “Diabetes is not scary if we take insulin and our diet regularly. I take sugar-free chocolates and ice cream. [Cricketer] Wasim Akram is a good example. I exercise every morning and I am hale and healthy now,” he said.

According to N. Sri Indhumathi (15), who was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of two, being diagnosed with “diabetes is a boon, not a curse.” A school topper in Class X, she swims and plays table tennis to remain healthy.

The youngsters, who participated in an oratorical contest for people with juvenile diabetes organised on Saturday by MV Hospital for Diabetes, Royapuram, were far ahead of the elders who grapple with and remain fearful after being diagnosed with diabetes. The children also participated in a quiz programme on diabetes and startled visitors with their knowledge of the metabolic disorder and the various treatment modalities currently in use.

T. Maniharika (17), who hails from Vijayawada, wants to become a doctor. She was diagnosed with insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes when she was eight years old. She recalled the symptoms that led to the diagnosis and treatment at the MV Hospital since then. “Educate yourself, read as much about diabetes as knowledge is your wealth. You also need the support of your family, a good team of healthcare professionals,” she said.

“Type 1 diabetes which occurs in 1 in 300 children is a challenge for us [to treat]. Worldwide annually some 76,000 children below the age of 15 develop Type 1 diabetes,” said the hospital's Managing Director, Vijay Viswanathan. About 150 children along with their parents participated in Saturday's event that included a talk on pancreas transplantation.

Actor Janaki Sabesh, who distributed the prizes to the winners, said she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years ago and people sympathised with her every time she asked for sugar-free coffee or tea. “I have learnt a lot from you. Each of you has been fighting from the age of two and three. Why should I crib? I am with you,” she said.