Rachel Rabbit was just like all the other Rabbits in Bunny Bop Town, she loved to hop and skip around all day in the green meadows, as well as nibble on the sweet carrots that were delivered each day to the Town.
Every day was a new adventure to be had and today was no exception- all the young rabbits were going on a field trip!
In the morning, after a big breakfast of carrots, the young rabbits started their trip. At first Rachel Rabbit and her best friend Harry Hare excitedly hopped on ahead, leading the way for all the other rabbits.
But all too soon Rachel started to feel a little tired, and her hopping became slower and more difficult. She started to lag behind all the other rabbits that were racing on ahead.
‘Whatever is the matter?’ Rachel’s best friend Harry asked worryingly when Rachel had to stop to rest her weary legs yet again.
‘I feel very faint and tired Harry’, replied Rachel weakly, ‘is there a stream we could stop by soon to have a drink of water from?’
‘Surely you’re not thirsty again?’ asked poor Harry, very confused, ‘we stopped by the big lake only a minute ago and I saw you drink a lot of water!’
‘And I need to find a toilet too! It must be all this water I keep drinking, I’ve had to pee so many times today’ cried poor Rachel, very distressed.
Harry was a clever hare, and he knew that something wasn’t quite right with Rachel, and he also knew that in the nearby farm there was a wise old donkey that helped the rabbits of Bunny Bop Town when they were feeling poorly. So at once Harry bounced off and returned straight away with the wise donkey.
‘Hello Rachel, I’m Dr. Donkey’ said the kind animal, ‘and I’m here to find out what’s making you feel so rotten!’
Dr. Donkey had a magic pin, and when he poked Rachel’s paw gently but firmly with the magic pin he could see straight away that something had gone a bit funny inside Rachel.
‘Aha! I see now exactly what’s happened Rachel- there’s too much sugar floating around in your blood and not enough sugar going inside all the cells in your body to keep them from going hungry!
Let me explain- you see Rachel, your blood is like the road that surrounds Bunny Bop Town and your cells are like all the Rabbits that live in the town.
The big trucks that drive around the road drop off all the carrots that you nibble on each day so you don’t get hungry! This is just like what happens inside your body, only in your case the delivery trucks, which we call insulin, aren’t being sent off from the factory any more- so no food is getting delivered to the right place! The factory is called the pancreas, and we all have one inside each of our bodies.
With no insulin trucks able to deliver the food to your rabbit cells no wonder you’ve become so tired! All the sugar from the carrots that you eat is just stuck on the road, which isn’t very good for anything.
‘But why am I so thirsty all the time? I can also tell I’ve lost lots of weight despite eating lots of carrots each day’ enquired Rachel to Dr. Donkey.
‘All the water you keep wanting to drink is your body trying to wash all the sugar from the carrots out of your body’s roads, or blood, where it’s piling up and making you feel ill. If your rabbit cells aren’t getting their food delivered properly, they won’t grow big and strong and you end up losing weight’.
Rachel Rabbit was starting to understand now, but was still confused as to why all of a sudden the delivery system inside her body had stopped working.
Dr. Donkey cleverly explained to Rachel that her immune system, which normally fights off nasty bugs and germs, had started attacking her internal factory, the pancreas, damaging it so it couldn’t send off the insulin trucks any more. This problem is called Diabetes Mellitus Type 1 and it’s not contagious, so Rachel can’t pass it on to any of the other rabbits in Bunny Bop Town.
‘But don’t worry Rachel!’ Dr. Donkey went on to say, ‘there is a way to replace the insulin trucks that are missing from your body. All you have to do is poke yourself with a very small and very special pin a few times each day- your mum can help you if you want. It doesn’t hurt much really, and it’ll mean that you can keep up with all the other young rabbits just like before! As you get a little older, you might find you need to use the pin more or less than you do now, but I’ll always be around to help you find out exactly the amount of insulin trucks that need replacing’.
Rachel looked excitedly at Harry, and Harry gave Rachel a big thumbs up- this was great news! Despite having to use the special pin every day Rachel’s life went back to normal, and she found that she could spend every day as before, nibbling on sweet carrots and hopping around with all the rabbits of Bunny Bop Town.
For more information about type 1 diabetes:
A useful website for teens and kids with type 1 diabetes.
Information on diabetes, for children with the condition.