Joanna StimpsonMom, Wife, Advocate for Type 1 Diabetes
“Work hard, stay clean and wash behind your ears!” – this is something my Dad said to me every time he dropped me off at boarding school.
It’s stayed with me ever since, always bringing a smile to my face and I sometimes catch myself saying it to my own kids.
My Dad was in the British Army so we moved around a lot (hence the boarding school). I was always the new kid in many schools so adjusting is something I quickly learnt. When I met my husband Matt, he had a dream to emigrate to Canada, it wasn’t a new concept for me to pack up and move so I agreed. In 2005, just after Matt was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, we left all family behind and flew from England with our 11 month old curly haired sweet boy to Peterborough. We knew no one and we had no jobs to go to. We quickly learnt that Peterborough is a community, people are willing to help in any way they can. We made friends and established the business.
Along came our daughter in 2007, and in 2009 she was also diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. We discovered that caring for a young child with T1D is a full time job. There were days that diabetes consumed our family and I learnt to put my anger and energy into making a difference. My advocacy initially came about with the challenges we faced with the school system and standard of care, it’s a struggle for many parents. I am passionate about this chronic, invasive, non curable, misunderstood disease. I’m keen to create change. Change in the way people think about the disease, change in empathy, policies and lives.
I have been advocating and fundraising for the past 10 years and I’m so driven because it affects us daily. 24/7. We have great days and we have exhausting days. I’ve slept with 1 eye open for the past 10 years.
Inspiring isn’t a word I’d describe myself as, so when I first heard about being nominated, I giggled then called my husband. He assured me I was worthy and I began thinking…
I do like to get things done. I’m a detail person especially when it comes to things that matter, the things I am passionate about. One of those things is indeed my family, so my hope is that I inspire my kids. Inspire them to stand up for things that are important, create change, have a voice and be heard.
Hopefully they witness my passion and actions and store it away for when they need the courage.
My advice to anyone having a rough day – dance like no one’s watching, vacuum in a tutu or try and do something about it by creating change.