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Life with diabetes: a Langley teen’s story

‘It can highjack a lot of things’
Langley’s Emma Mcconnell, 14, leads an active life despite having diabetes. The insulin pump that she uses (right) can be seen on her arm. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Diabetes doesen’t hold back Langley’s Emma Mcconnell, a Langley teen who devotes 16 hours a week to studying dance, jazz and hip-hop, along with taking choir at Langley Fine Arts School.

Dance has always been a big part of her life, Emma, 14, explained, relating how “when I was little, we used to play music and we would dance.”

Diabetes has also been a part of her life.

When Emma was eight years old, she felt very unwell and fell in her kitchen. She was taken to BC Children’s Hospital and after being assessed and tested, she was diagnosed with diabetes.

Like her dancing, she is disciplined about monitoring her insulin level and taking the necessary measures to treat her condition.

But even someone as careful as Emma is, can have a day turned upside down by diabetes.

For example, there was the time she went swimming at a friend’s house and didn’t realize the insulin pump she wears had been “bonked,” accidentally dislodging the tube she relied on, something that wasn’t discovered until she became very ill later in the day.

“It’s frustrating,” Emma told the Langley Advance Times.

Her mother Sarah said it took Emma a long time to recover.

“It [diabetes] can hijack a lot of things,” Sarah said.

“You need to be on it all the time.”

READ ALSO: BC Children’s Hospital launches pet therapy program tailor-made for health-care staff

Mother and daughter have gone public to support the work of B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Emma has learned how to manage her insulin and ongoing treatments through the Vancouver hospital’s “Diabetes Boot Camp”.

She also has been involved in the hospital’s Diabetes Transformation Project that aims aims to improve the lives and health outcomes of children living with diabetes.

Research supported by the hospital has made a difference in Emma’s life, mother and daughter agree.

“We’ve seen the benefits,” Sarah said.

“With the support of BC Children’s Hospital and the project that we have been actually working on, we’ve been able to gain our confidence and connect with other families and be able to come to grips and live our fullest life with this disease in our family.”

To support the B.C. Children’s hospital foundation, visit


READ ALSO: British Columbians with Type 2 diabetes are struggling with their mental health: survey


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Dan Ferguson

About the Author: Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson has worked for a variety of print and broadcast outlets in Canada and the U.S.
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