Taylor de Haan was only nine years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune condition that currently has no cure and affects close to 300,000 Canadians.

When she was 11, Taylor hosted her first Walk, Run, or Roll for Type 1 Diabetes event, raising just over $2,000 for Diabetes Canada. This year, she has launched the virtual event once again, and she is hoping to “raise money and also inform people about diabetes.”

People who live with Type 1 diabetes have to inject themselves with insulin every day, often multiples times a day, as their bodies no longer produce the essential hormone to regulate blood sugar. They must also monitor their blood sugar and strive to keep it in a tight range while being mindful of the amount of carbohydrates they eat, their exercise levels, and much more.

“All of the needles isn’t very fun. Also when I need to sit out on activities that I really want to do, like sports sometimes (it is challenging). Or missing out on having a treat sometimes… it’s not ideal,” said de Haan, considering just some of the ways the condition impacts her life.

Taylor and her mother Jordan Ann Kevan de Haan believe the event is the only one happening in the Cornwall and SDG region this year to raise funds and awareness in relation to the condition. The concept of the event is simple: Walk, Run, or Roll — a recommended five kilometres for adults — and donate to the cause. Anyone who takes a selfie along their journey and then sends it to Taylor will be eligible to win a gift card to a local restaurant. 

The final day of de Haan’s event falls on Nov. 14, which is World Diabetes Day, coinciding with the birthday of Canadian scientist Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin with Charles Best in 1921, saving millions of lives. 

“I would say our whole family is really proud of Taylor’s dedication to her own diabetes management but also that she sees the big picture on why it’s important to raise awareness of Type 1 diabetes in general, and also to help fundraise to support research efforts to find a cure, or even to just make things better for people,” said Jordan Ann Kevan de Haan. “I am seeing (even in the short time since Taylor’s diagnosis) huge strides in diabetes management options. So it’s really a (daily) struggle, but I’m optimistic, and I think Taylor is optimistic in the long run.”

Kevan de Haan said her family is fortunate to have insurance that supplements the many financial costs of the condition, but is cognizant these resources are not available to everyone, and some Canadians must pay several thousands of dollars out of pocket every year to survive.

“Long-term success in diabetes management is critical and (financial support) should be considered essential, really…” she said.

Taylor and her family have already done their part and participated in the walk.

“My brother went for a walk at Gray’s Creek Conservation Area, I went to the Summerstown Trails, and (my dad) walked home from work,” said Taylor.

Over the summer, Taylor attended Camp Banting for the first time, a camp for individuals living with Type 1 diabetes aged seven to 16.

“It was actually really cool to listen… the fact that I’m not the only person who knows what it is like (to live with Type 1 diabetes),” she said.

To donate to de Haan’s event — which has a goal to raise $2,000 — visit her donation page on Diabetes Canada’s website. For more information on the event, visit Taylor’s event website, which she designed and maintains, or email enddiabeteswithroyalt@gmail.com.


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