Last spring, 12-year-old Brady Windsor was in a mountain bike race at Douglas Park when he felt something go wrong at the top of the hill. “My legs were not moving,” he recalled. “That was really scary.”
A skier and biathlete, he couldn’t figure out what was happening, and his father, Kent, didn’t realize it was anything serious. He thought Brady was just tired.
However, when his parents pieced together his symptoms with how tired and lethargic he had been, they took him into Regina General Hospital (RGH). He was tested immediately, and diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an incurable and insulin-dependent disease. “Fortunately, we caught it early before he was in ketoacidosis – a major, life-threatening complication of diabetes. That would have required a stay in ICU,” explains Kent. “Instead he was admitted to the pediatric unit at the Regina General Hospital right away. It was overwhelming for all of us.” His mother Gwen agrees,
It was a life-altering experience. You realize that your life will never be the same again. Brady began working with Metabolic and Diabetes Education Centre (MEDEC) and a pediatric medical team at RGH, to learn how to optimize his physical and mental health and development. He was introduced to a routine that calls for four injections per day with meals, but will eventually move to a treatment that allows him to eat when and whatever he wants.
For Brady, being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes meant he had to adjust to consistently monitoring his blood sugar levels.
I would not wish this on anyone, but the support and education from MEDEC is helping us adjust to this ever-changing new normal, explained Gwen. “We are still grieving the loss of ‘pre-T1D Brady’. Just when he had reached a time in his life when he was eager to become more independent, Brady got sucked back into needing close support and supervision almost all of the time.”
Brady, however, seems to have taken it all in stride. Now a 13-year-old in grade eight, he will attend Sheldon WIlliams High School in the fall, and plans to keep cross-country skiing, running, curling and playing badminton. Gwen says he’s handling it better than she could have ever imagined. “He said to me, ‘At least it’s not cancer. There are so many other kids sicker than me.’"
In 2015, Regina’s pediatric program saw more than 2,000 patients like Brady, who required specialized care for an illness or disease. Every year, Hospitals of Regina Foundation invests in pediatrics to ensure quality care is available for children in need. This is made possible through the many donors and community groups who organize annual and bi-annual fundraisers in support of pediatrics such as the Plywood Cup, Pipeline of Dreams, Champagne Classic, O.S.C.A.R charity golf tournament and the Teddy Bear Tea.
Kent says he has no doubt his son will succeed in managing his disease. “Thanks to the education, support and encouragement he has received from MEDEC, he’s getting the opportunity to get back to all the things he loves doing.”
Brady's story was featured in our Spring 2016 newsletter. Click here to read more from that issue.