InnodiaParticipant Spotlight

Real life experiences

The Wlodarczyk family

30th of November 2022 by the Wlodarczyk family

For the occasion of World Diabetes Day 2022, the INNODIA team in Katowice, Poland, organised a Press Conference. Radio and television came by to talk to PI Prof. Przemka Jarosz-Chobot and to take interviews from the Wlodarczyk family.

Does life with Diabetes have to be bitter? Twins Zuzanna and Lena offer hope!

Zuzanna and Lena are 13 years old. Zuzanna developed Type 1 Diabetes in 2012, Lena in 2011.

Mr. and Mrs. Wlodarczyk's lives changed about 11 years ago, when they learned that their daughters Zuzanna and Lena had type 1 diabetes.

Catherine (the mother) remembers that day well and the emotions that came with the diagnosis of both her daughters.

"I felt anxiety, fear and fright. My daughter was less than 2 years old. If you give birth to 2 healthy children, you don’t expect anything bad to happen tho them.

Diabetes fell on us like a bolt from the blue

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I didn't really know anything about the disease at all. Our world fell apart. Lena and Zuzanna try to live like normal teenagers, but there will always be differences in their lives. In addition, they suffer from celiac disease”.

A few years ago, family. Mrs. Wlodarczyk and her husband volunteered to be tested in the INNODIA project and encouraged their son Jan to do the same. He agreed. The older brother tested positive for autoantibodies and agreed to stay in INNODIA for follow-up.

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The twins’ brother is now in followed-up in the INNODIA project and closely watched by the dedicated Polish team. Research is being conducted by the Silesian Medical University in Katowice.

”The girls have type one diabetes. Even though Jan does not have the disease, he still lives with it, the whole family lives with it. Type 1 Diabetes has an impact on all of us”, mom says.

Jan: "I remember the day I found out I have autoantibodies. I was still in middle school at the time. I came home and my mother told me about the results on the doorstep. I was a little stressed about it, but my parents told me about the project and I immediately thought that if I could somehow help someone and support medical research, I would agree to offer my samples for further investigation. I know that if possibly diabetes were to flare up in me, we would find out about it sooner, and I may not, for example, just faint on the sidewalk".

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Mr. and Mrs. Wlodarczyk, twin sisters, Zuzanna & Lena and their older brother Jan

FOLLOW-UP "I had to come to Katowice every six months to the Upper Silesian Children's Health Center and undergo multiple tests. I arrived fasting and had to drink glucose. The team took my blood samples and performed an OGTT (glucose tolerance test) in order to study how my body was behaving. At my very first appointment, my glucose levels were far too high than they should be and I remember the thought occurred to me that this was the end of being healthy. But at the same time, I thought to myself that if my younger sisters can handle this, I have to show I can do too".

“I thought to myself that i can certainly handle it, because if my younger sisters can, i have to show i can do too.”

THANK YOU, Mrs and Ms Wlodarczyk, Lena, Zuzanna and Jan, for sharing your story with INNODIA!