Navy Anderson is just 5 years old and has already proven himself a Blue Army superhero, with help from his parents Joel and Asha.
Their JDRF One Walk team, Nave the Brave, was one of the the top fundraising teams in Victoria last year – raising $14,085 to help create a future free from type 1 diabetes (T1D) for Navy, and over 120,000 others living in Australia.
Diagnosed at just three and a half years old, Navy and his family have had a rocky 18 months. From enduring the steep learning curve T1D throws at newly diagnosed families, through to starting Kinder classes for the first time, the Andersons aptly describe their journey as a roller coaster ride.
“The biggest challenge for us has been the injections. To this day Navy struggles with the needles. It’s really confronting for him.” Joel explains.
“We go through days or weeks where we think ‘this is getting better’, but the next week, we’re back to the start. It's tough, and it’s tough on our other kids to see him going through that.”
But, as with any roller coaster ride, it’s not all lows.
Joel and Asha describe how Navy took starting Kinder in his stride, leaving their fears about having someone else look after him – especially his lunchtime injection – completely unfounded. Navy loves his Kinder and never complains, a wonderful achievement for their family.
Looking to the future, Joel and Asha have a positive outlook for their son.
“We feel quite lucky because of the support we’ve received from various organisations, and the fact that Navy can live a normal life.” Asha says.
“He’s dealing with T1D daily but he's still kicking a ball and playing with his sisters and doing all the things that other kids are doing. Pair that with the progression of technology we’ve seen recently, and we believe that there is likely to be some form of a cure within his lifetime which we’re looking forward to.”
Despite the incredible total of funds raised
by their team Nave the Brave, the Andersons first signed up for One Walk to give Navy a place to be proud of his diagnosis and connect with other kids living with T1D.
“One Walk was more a family thing for us in the beginning, but we were very humbled to see how much people wanted to help. We ended up having around 45 people turn up and that meant the world to both Navy and our family – the money raised was a by-product of the brilliant support we felt!” Joel says.
Joel and Asha believe the most important part of One Walk is connecting with a huge support network and being comforted by the real family feel that comes along with taking part.
If you’d like to establish meaningful connections with other newly diagnosed families riding the T1D rollercoaster, registrations are now open for the One Walk Step Challenge. Join the Blue Army here to defeat T1D.