Hartley Halvorson was a typical two-year-old, without a care in the world. However, all of that changed on September 26, 2018. That’s the day a blood test confirmed a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes for the Regina youngster.
“We were floored, honestly,” says Hartley’s dad Dustin. “In hindsight, the signs were there. For a few weeks, she had been playing less. Wanting to be carried instead of walking. This was combined with being a bit moody and getting upset quite easily. She was wetting through her diapers at night and was craving water. She was really thirsty, yet peeing so much.”
Once Hartley’s diagnosis was confirmed, she began receiving treatment, including insulin injections, at the pediatric inpatient unit of the Regina’s General Hospital. Initially, Hartley was hospitalized for six days, to get her blood sugar levels down to a safer level and to ensure she was hydrated.
“We were in complete disbelief,” Dustin explains. “We eat really healthy, get lots of exercise as a family. We take our vitamins. We did everything to the best of our abilities, so we couldn’t understand how this could be happening to us!”
Shock quickly turned to determination, as the Halvorsons worked with Hartley’s health care team to develop a long-term strategy.
“I cannot stress enough how amazing Hartley’s medical team was,” Dustin continues. “We felt so lucky to live in southern Saskatchewan and have access to incredible pediatric care, right here at home. We had no idea what Type 1 diabetes was or what we needed to do to keep her healthy. In total, we spent six days at the General. This was not because Hartley was struggling or needing to be in a hospital bed. It had a lot to do with training us how to understand blood sugar levels, insulin dosages for type 1 diabetes for juveniles, and how to perform each task and learn all about diet and carb counting. It was overwhelming.”
Today, Hartley is a healthy and happy seven year old. Since diagnosis, Hartley's family and friends have dove into a new mission: increasing awareness of juvenile diabetes and raising much-needed funds for research and treatment. Their efforts have included launching the Hartley’s Heroes website
, a Facebook page, and supporting fundraising initiatives including Hospitals of Regina Foundation’s annual Four Seasons Ball, which supports pediatric health care in Regina’s hospitals.
“Hartley’s story is an inspiring reminder of the importance of supporting local children’s care,” says Lisa Green, senior vice-president, Hospitals of Regina Foundation. “The Foundation is proud to support children like Hartley through our investments in our pediatric programs. By working together with our donors and other partners, we’re helping to ensure children across southern Saskatchewan have access to excellent care, as close to home as possible.”