In 2018, World Diabetes Day falls on Wednesday 14th November. The purpose of this one day is to raise awareness of a condition that millions of people all around the world live with every day.
St Francis College Grade 7 learner, Nathan Hendricks, knows all too well about this condition. He was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic at just 8 months old and has been on an insulin pump since the age of 1.
Doing his bit to raise awareness on this day, Nathan delivered a power point presentation to his fellow learners at the College on Diabetes and how this has affected his life. He then handed out blue ribbons which symbolize Diabetes awareness to all the children at the school to wear.
As though the diabetes challenge is not enough to contend with, Nathan also suffers from a condition known as Sarsgaard Macular Degeneration which has left him visually impaired. Despite this, the young man’s determination to succeed seems to hold few boundaries. Nathan, who is a strong swimmer, recently took part in the Marina Martinique 3km Open Water swim for the second time. When he took part the first time he struggled to see where he was going and so kept turning in the wrong direction. Not to be defeated, on his second attempt Nathan swam the full course being kept on track by his “eyes” for the race, Jeffreys Bay life saver Etienne van Gent who paddled alongside him the whole way.
His father Darryl fills with pride as he describes his son’s astonishing attitude to life. “One could understand if Nathan begrudged his handicaps, but he holds no bitterness and bears no malice. He simply embraces life to the full and never steps away from a challenge. For example, Nathan is an enthusiastic cricketer – he bowls and manages to take wickets even though he can only partially see his target. He is also the top chess player in the College which is amazing when you consider he is playing partially blindfolded.”
In the classroom Nathan loves mathematics, although reading presents yet another challenge for him. “We’ve overcome this by making sure he has plenty of reading aids, magnifiers and an I-Pad,” explains Darryl.
Nathan has almost completed his time at St Francis College and is looking forward to starting at the Global Leadership Academy in Jeffreys Bay next year.
“We are very proud of Nathan and are privileged to have him at our school. His parents have always given him and the school so much support and they are to be commended for raising such a wonderful young man,” said acting Head, Caroline Anderson. “On behalf of the St Francis College staff, I wish him all the best for his next chapter.”