Fatherhood and Diabetes: Meet Dasia and Ro
“Well I’ve asked him that before and he’s told me, but I think, that he feels sad, because like he doesn’t want me to have diabetes…Because he didn’t know that I was going to have diabetes because daddy’s mommy and daddy already had diabetes and he doesn’t want another part of his family to have diabetes again.” —Dasia Young-Gendrett, 6.5 years old, T1D
Like many six-year olds her age, Dasia is spunky and humorous. Unlike them however, she possesses a wisdom and perceptiveness beyond her years. To understand Dasia’s full personality, it’s important to note that at 4 years old, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In the 2.5 years since her diagnosis, Dasia has maintained her jovial spirit, captivated those around her and immersed herself in the diabetes community. In fact, for the last 3 years, JDRF LA has invited her to volunteer at their annual gala.
My introduction to Dasia came through her aunt, who in an email last month, encouraged me to explore the viewpoints of loved ones and parents raising children with diabetes. Her words struck me–“Years later the impact of this diagnosis is still reeling, but not in my niece (she’s brilliantly amazing and manages like an imperfectly perfect human. The toll is on her parents who are manifesting their disappointment and triumph in different ways- silently yet severely.” Her sentiments highlight the importance of creating space for parents affected by diabetes, specifically parents of color who aren’t adequately represented in diabetes-related support groups or platforms. Her comments also reflect the need for open and vulnerable conversations, that dispel fear, offer encouragement and impart hope.
Dasia’s segment is a bit different from my other two featured dads. Instead of hearing from her father, you’ll hear from Dasia herself as she reflects on her dad and what he means to her, specifically as it pertains to her diabetes.
As her aunt reveals, “(this) recording is raw, unedited and honest.” The authenticity Dasia conveys, along with her honesty, silliness and awareness make this a riveting interview. Some moments I shared in Dasia’s laughter, and at other times I nodded in somber agreement at her reflections.
Listen below to 6.5 year old Dasia talk openly about her diagnosis story, how her dad feels about her type 1 diabetes, how he supports her with her daily management, his greatest wish for her and much more.
Thank you again to Dasia and her family (especially, her mom, Yetta and aunt Kieta) for making this segment possible.