Not to be stuck in 2004 or anything, but remember that episode of Sex and the City where a cancer-stricken Samantha Jones shaves her head and her boyfriend Smith shows his support by doing the same? Yeah, that scene moved me big time. In real life, a Quebec mom and dad have taken their show of solidarity one step further. Philippe Aumond and Camille Boivin got an insulin pump tattooed on their abdomens to show that they are “forever linked” to their son Jacob, who has Type 1 diabetes.
It’s not the most conventional choice but it’s certainly powerful. Jacob, 5, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age three and a half. At the time, he was given five injections each day to stabilize his blood sugar levels. Those were soon replaced with an insulin pump, which automatically calculates how much insulin to provide, and which he wears 24/7.
“He adapted pretty quick, but one time he told me that he felt different and he was wondering if he was alone in the world, you know, wearing a pump,” Boivin told The Canadian Press. “He was four at the time, so he wants to be like everyone else.”
Boivin explained that she and her husband opted for tattoos “because no parents want to have their child feel left out or alone.” Jacob, of course, was thrilled. “Each time people talk to him about his pump, he always lifts up my shirt and says, ‘Look, my mom has one too.’”
The insulin pump cost Jacob’s family $6,800, plus $700 for a continuous glucose monitoring system (ongoing costs are $500/month). To help cover those costs, Boivin held a fundraiser in which she sold $5 wristbands with the words “Together for Jacob” written in French. She managed to raise more than $14,000, which she used towards the pump and three months’ worth of supplies. Boivin then gave the leftover money to another mother who needed a pump for her child, and to a summer camp for kids with diabetes.
She also created a blog and support group for parents that includes a “meet-up” weekend in the country (20 families participated this past summer and they plan to do it again next year). As Boivin explains, “We try to turn everything about diabetes as positive as possible.”
I just loved this story and am amazed by what wonderful role models these parents are to Jacob. It’s touching to see how they found such a creative way to make their child feel so loved and supported.