Dad launches comic book to inspire son living with T1 diabetes
“My insulin pump gives me superpowers”
It was Max who came up with the superhero idea when he was just six years old. Being a huge fan of the Avengers, Max said to me one day: “Iron Man is kept alive by his chest and I’m kept alive by my insulin pump – so it’s like my insulin pump gives me superpowers”, and that is how Captain Lantus was born.
It started as a school project: Max wrote a story about a superhero inspired by his comics, his experiences as a T1 diabetic and his very own insulin pump superpowers. He and I would take it in turns to write alternate lines of the story and we just kept building it up from there. Max shared it with his classmates so they could learn about diabetes, but it was also about making it fun and not just about education. Creations such a Beta Town, Mayor Bolus and King Carb are inspired directly from the things kids with diabetes have to think about every day.
One evening after we’d been working on Captain Lantus together, I went to bed and I couldn’t get the idea out of my head. Max was so excited about the idea that his insulin pump gave him superpowers, and there are so many other kids with Type 1 diabetes that I wanted to share Captain Lantus with them so they could feel this way too. So we collaborated with some amazing illustrators and editors to turn Max’s creation into the ‘Adventures of Captain Lantus’— a print and ebook which is now available to buy. We want to get this story to every child living with Type 1 diabetes – we’ve even started working on book 2.
Max has lived with T1 diabetes since he was 18 months old when he was admitted to hospital with severely high blood sugars and went into a coma – it was certainly one Halloween that my wife Sarah and I will never forget. Max had been ill for some time with all the symptoms of weight loss, excessive thirst and needing the toilet all the time, but he was initially just diagnosed with a cold. Sarah very luckily heard a segment on television about diabetes – all the symptoms matched, and we were able to get Max treated just in time.
In the early years we were using injections but, because he was small and sensitive to carbohydrates, his sugars could swing very rapidly. I don’t think we got more than two hours of continuous sleep at a time for the first few years. Sarah and I would take it in turns to test his sugars every hour through the night. Max went onto his first insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor when he was three years old and it was completely lifechanging – for all of us. We feel really lucky that he was among the first in the UK to transition to one of the most sophisticated insulin pumps in the world, the new MiniMed 780G, with special AI—powered algorithms that can tailor his insulin dose to his specific lifestyle. It connects to my smart phone too, so I can always easily keep an eye on what’s going on. It definitely eases our minds to know Max’s blood sugar is stable and he is safe.
Max really does believe it gives him superpowers. For us, it means Max can be just like any other kid and run around playing football all day.
- Max (age 7) and Gary (age 42), from Staffordshire
Find out more about the Adventures of Captain Lantus here: https://www.captainlantus.com/