We’re in love with this dynamic brother-sister duo. Parker and Madison live in Encinitas, California, where they can be found bouncing down their blood sugars on their backyard trampoline between soccer and gymnastics practices. As you might imagine, they share a special bond, beyond being siblings. They are each other’s biggest supporter and they’re both making an extra effort to support others with diabetes around them.
Parker, what was it like to be the first one diagnosed with diabetes in your family?
Parker: It was scary, stressful, and confusing.
Madison, what was it like to be diagnosed after your bother?
Madison: I was happy at first, because I was just like Parker.
What’s it like to have a sibling with diabetes?
Parker: It’s nice not to be alone. Madison understands me.
Madison: It's helpful.
Photo by Mimi Haddon
Do you help each other with diabetes?
Parker: Yes, I check her blood, prep her meter, and tell her if Dexty [Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitor] is going off. I help Madison at school to put on her new pump infusion site if she needs a new one.
Madison: Yes, Parker gives me candy or juice for lows. He will check my blood sugar too.
What do you think is the most important thing that people without diabetes should know about diabetes?
Madison: How to manage and care for it. That there are different types of diabetes. Sometimes I wish they were called something else.
Parker: What to do if I pass out from a low blood glucose and how serious type 1 diabetes really is.
What do you tell your friends about diabetes?
Madison: My friends want diabetes to get candy, juice, and glucose tabs, but I tell them they don't want diabetes because the shots hurt and you feel sick and when its recess if you're high or too low then you can't play.
Parker: It’s dangerous and serious, but you can manage it if you take care of yourself.
Describe a time where you taught someone something about diabetes.
Parker: When I was diagnosed, my mom came into my classroom at school with a book, Rufus the Bear, and a test kit. We explained diabetes to my class.
Madison: With my school nurse, I go into my friends’ classrooms and read a book about diabetes. I answer questions, teach them, and show them my equipment.
What do you like to do when you are not at school?
Madison: I jump on my trampoline, play with my friends, do gymnastics, ride my bike, and play on my soccer team.
Parker: I play outside and jump on my trampoline with friends and my sisters.
We heard you have a special way of being active to bring down high blood sugars…What do you do if you have a high BG at home to help bring it down?
Madison: Water, insulin, trampoline
Parker: Trampoline, water, and insulin.
How did you learn about insulin pumps and what do you like most about yours?
Parker: I first saw insulin pumps at diabetes camp, Camp Wana Kura. Ryan Maloney, one of my mentors at camp, showed me his t:slim Pump.
Madison: I liked it because my brother had one. I like that you don’t have to get shots all of the time.
What is the biggest challenge that diabetes brings to your life?
Parker: When I am low or high I can't do anything. My life just stops. It slows me down.
Madison: Sometimes you miss out on things because of lows.
How have you changed since being diagnosed with diabetes?
Madison: I’m more brave and more kind to others that have diseases.
Parker: I'm more helpful and help newly diagnosed kids and friends who have diabetes at school.
Who else supports you when you need it?
Madison: My nurse, Susie, Miss Z my kindergarten teacher two years ago, Glama, Papa, and my baby little sister holds my hand for insertions, and of course Parker.
Parker: Our mom and dad.
If you are to be recognized in history for one thing, what would you want to be known for?
Madison: That I am responsible for my diabetes. I want to be a person that finds a cure!
Parker: Doing something good and for being on TV.
What is something you’ve done that you are proud of?
Parker: Building my K’NEX rollercoasters and modeling them.
Madison: Scoring soccer goals and running with my club at school.
If you met someone newly diagnosed with diabetes, what would be your advice to them?
Madison: Wear a t:slim and get a Dexcom to help your parents with numbers. Sometimes diabetes hurts, but you're not alone!
Parker: Stay calm and meet friends with type one diabetes – they'll understand and help you.
If you could have a song written about you, what would the song be called and who would sing it?
Parker: Sugar Babies, by One Direction.
Madison: Finding Hope and Grace, my family would sing it.
Special thanks to the Poston family for contributing to this interview.
From time to time, we may pass along: suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.
Interview and photos by Blair Ryan.