Tell us a bit about your family?
Darryl and I are blessed with three gorgeous kids, Tyler (22), Kalem (18) and Jenna (11). Jenna has Trisomy 21, alopecia, was born with cataracts on her eyes which were removed at 6 weeks old and she is Type One diabetic. We are feel lucky because our children love, protect and support each other unconditionally and Jenna has and will always have two big brothers ensuring she is happy, safe and looked after. So Darryl and I are blessed.
How did you get involved with Cure Kids?
We were introduced to Cure Kids when Jenna was 4 years old and were lucky to be able to go on the Ticket to Hope, Queenstown.
What has been the most challenging part of this journey?
We don’t look at Jenna’s journey as being challenging, we focus on the positives even when things are really hard we try remain upbeat because this only helps Jenna not to feel overwhelmed. We’ve had lots of curve balls thrown our way since she was born, from the undetected through pregnancy Trisomy 21, to the eye surgeries, heart surgeries, her hair falling out and the diagnosis of diabetes. She has battled like a trooper and she gives us the strength to not crumble in a heap and throw our hands up in the air and feel sorry for ourselves. And why should we, we have been given a beautiful little girl that fills people’s hearts with happiness and shows people that sometimes life can be unfair but you can’t walk through life feeling like you’re being punished, you live every day like it’s a new day.
How has it impacted your family and life?
Our life did change dramatically with the type one diabetes, we no longer had the freedom as such to jump in the car and go anywhere without pre-planning extensively for food and insulin ensuring we kept to a strict timetable to make sure Jenna didn’t go low or high. At times it can be trying but we’re in charge of keeping Jenna alive and when you look at it like that then nothing is too hard.
Your family, and Jenna are so brave, how do you stay strong through the toughest of times?
With our family, with the support of our family and love we have for Jenna in our family. Simple but true. Without our family unit, it would be overwhelming.
What is the most important thing for your family?
Being together, we are happiest when we are all together.
If you could have one wish, what would it be?
The obvious answer would be for Jenna not to be type one diabetic but the simple wish would be that my family are happy and healthy and know they’re loved unconditionally.
What is one piece of advice you would give to other parents / families going through a similar thing?
To take one day at a time, don’t look too far forward because sometimes that can cause you to be unnecessarily anxious when there’s no need. To make sure you have a moment for yourself even if that’s sitting on your bed and taking 10 mins alone time because let’s face it sometimes you just can’t go out.