{Newly Diagnosed} Bag of Hope

by Leighann on February 18, 2010

When our daughter was diagnosed, we were told by the nurses to contact the JDRF for a teddy bear. At the time I was thinking that it would have been even better had she been given a special present while actually in the hospital.

As we settled in back home, I eventually e-mailed our state’s JDRF chapter to request our Bag of Hope. They mailed it with lightening speed and I think we received it two days later.

And that was a good thing.

Q had been pretty compliant about finger checks and injections up until that point. But all of a sudden, about a month out from diagnosis, she decided she just was not having it any more.

Injections were accompanied by screaming and tears and threats from me that she could do it the easy way or the hard way. I had to demand that she could sit still or I could hold her down because the only choice was to make it quick or drag it out. But there was no choice whether or not to get an injection.

This rebellion made for a difficult few days. I don’t blame her. She was four and had every right to be fed up. But I didn’t know what to do to get over this hump.

And then Rufus arrived, as if summoned by her D-Fairy God Mother.

We read the book about the little boy who was diagnosed with diabetes and his special bear. And then we practiced checking Rufus’ finger and giving him an injection.

And it worked!

No more struggles. No more tears. No more screaming. No more trying to get away from the needle that was coming toward her.

She still plays with Rufus, occasionally wanting to do his finger check or give him an injection. She doctors him up when he is feeling sick. She’s repaired broken limbs and covered him in countless Band-Aids.

And when we were thinking about starting an insulin pump, she hooked Rufus up with one, too.

JDRF Bag of Hope

JDRF Bag of Hope Including the Famous Rufus the Bear with Diabetes

So if your child is newly diagnosed or you know someone who is, encourage them to contact their JDRF chapter and request the Bag of Hope. It really can help.

If your child has been recently diagnosed, visit my Newly Diagnosed page for more resources. Read more posts about the Bag of Hope and Rufus the Bear with Diabetes.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel February 18, 2010 at 7:03 am

I remember the day that we received our Bag of Hope! 🙂 We still have the book and Tristan still has Rufus. He doesn’t play with him much anymore but once in a while, he will take him out and take comfort from him. I love Rufus! It made Tristan feel better at a time when he needed it. Thank you JDRF! 🙂


2 Michael Hoskins February 18, 2010 at 7:12 am

This is great! Way back when in the early 80s when I was diagnosed at age 5, there wasn’t any Bag of Hope or teddy bear. But I had received a fun stuffed frog (Froggy) a few years earlier for my birthday, and this became my Rufus. I still have him now, at age 31 (Shh… Don’t tell.). What a great idea by the JDRF, and thank you for spreading the word online!


3 Gail February 18, 2010 at 8:11 am

We actually received our bag of hope in the hospital! The day after we were admitted while Lane was still in the PICU. At the time it was nice but was sooo over whelmed with information I didnt really get to look at everything till we got home. Lane did love the bear after a couple of days since the first 2 days she was very out of it (her admitting blood sugar and A1C was thru the roof, almost went into coma). Great post !!! =)


4 Colleen February 18, 2010 at 10:32 am

I really wish they had these when I was a kid. They’re so cool. And I know some kids do get them in the hospital. It just depends on whether that particular hospital allows JDRF to hand them out.


5 Dawn July 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Thank you for a great blog and a great book! Truth be told i had to read the book in small doses because it hit home and filled me with emotion and my tears welled up. Reading your book showed me the kit that we received in the hospital was totally age inappropriate…it seemed geared toward middle schoolers or high schoolers. My son is 6. I just got off the phone with our local jdrf chapter and they are mailing Rufus and bag of hope to us! Thank you a million!


6 Leighann July 25, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Glad to hear you’re getting a Rufus, it was so helpful for us. Five years later my daughter still plays with him.

Thanks for reading the blog and book. My hope was that parents could read the book topic by topic and not necessarily straight through.

Take care!


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