At just two-years-old Manuel became dangerously ill.
His health had been declining for months but suddenly it had become critical.
Manuel’s little body was starting to shut down.
Desperately searching for help for his grandson, Manuel’s grandfather Jorge went from hospital to hospital to try and find out what was wrong with him.
None of the doctors could diagnose him until finally, one suggested that Manuel could have type 1 diabetes.
But the hospital didn’t have any insulin. Without insulin, Manuel would die.
Jorge was devastated, “It was a huge shock, it was like a death. There was chaos, everyone was worried.”
Manuel’s story could have ended there, but Jorge wouldn’t give up. He continued going from doctor to doctor asking for help.
Eventually one of the doctors told Jorge about a clinic that might be able to help.
Immediately, Jorge rushed Manuel straight to the clinic, where he met Dr. Elizabeth Duarte.
Dr. Duarte knew exactly what to do. She had the insulin, supplies and knowledge to save Manuel’s life. With the expertise and care of Dr. Duarte, Manuel slowly started to recover.
Unfortunately, there were more problems to come. Not long after Manuel’s diagnosis his parents split up.
His mother left the family and soon after his father moved to another city.
Grandpa Jorge suddenly found himself as the sole carer for a young boy with a complex and life-threatening condition. It was overwhelming.
In Jorge’s words: “We had some hard times back then. The hardest thing was learning everything we needed to do to keep Manuel alive. I failed many times. We had to take him to the hospital a lot because his blood glucose levels would rise, and we didn’t know what to do.”
Jorge has to struggle just to provide the daily essentials for himself and Manuel.
If he had to buy insulin at the pharmacy, it could cost him 90% of their household budget. Thanks to donor support, Jorge and Manuel can visit Dr. Duarte every month to collect his insulin and strips.
Despite the challenges, Jorge feels positive about the future. He said, ‘’We keep learning every day. I’m committed to him.’’
Manuel wants to be a veterinarian when he grows up, he loves dogs.
But Manuel’s diagnosis means insulin always needs to be available, and he will need ongoing support to maintain his health.