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The Power Of a Little Type 1 Diabetes Hero

How everything started…

Everything started from a simple wish to help my beloved friend’s little boy to do what other kids can do, while wearing his insulin pump. He was only 20-months-old when my friend heard this life-changing diagnosis. When she asked me to sew a pair of trousers for him, I took it very personally and that was almost five years ago.

From that moment on, all my free time became consumed with gaining knowledge about diabetes. I looked on the internet for  clothing that accommodated insulin pumps, but could not find something similar. I thought that perhaps I was creating something innovative. Then I finished my costume design studies. People call me a social start-up. However, the biggest motivation was and still is the words my friend once told me, “That I saved her boy’s childhood.” They could not imagine any other way of carrying his insulin pump after growing up with the clothes we were creating together.

In 2019, I won a social entrepreneurship competition, organized by “Reach for Change.” In doing so, The “Ella Fund” (www.theellafund.org) decided to back my dream of creating a collection and helping kids with diabetes. From that moment on, my dream became my mission.

Fears and worries…

Our Pocket Hero is the story about you, about us, about our kids who are our everyday heroes, and our future that belongs to them. This illness is so invisible. People will never be able to identify a child with type 1 diabetes, unless they see an insulin pump or when she/he finger pricks. In the beginning, I was worried about not knowing everything about diabetes, as my kids did not have type 1 diabetes. But later I understood that not all the doctors who help and heal kids have diabetes either. After receiving so much support and encouragement from the diabetes community and parents, I feel so grateful and it makes me want to continue this journey even more. I would love to give kids that reassurance of not having to think twice before going on a trampoline. They would run with all their force, play with no limits, and worry less about the safety of their insulin pumps.

Every child is unique

I see so many inspiring examples around me and truly believe that there is life beyond type 1 diabetes. Lucas is my adorable friend’s boy who is full of energy, loves swimming, and is a big karate fan. I believe that his generation will change the perception of this illness, and that we all will be a part of it. The start of this illness comes with many insecurities and fears, questions, and possibilities of bullying. Diabetes is really a lot about the numbers, and I think it is important to let kids know that they all are unique in their own way and with their own diabetes story.

 We will try to support as much as we can, especially our little heroes here in Lithuania.

You are making an impact…

Our Pocket Hero is a non-profit organization, and we have chosen to allocate 7 % of each order for the kids who have been recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. We have a very measurable goal as we have 1050 kids diagnosed with type 1 diabetes here in Lithuania. Knowing the fact that we can make an impact brings us strength and hope. We want to show our support from the very beginning. I remember talking with a girl who has diabetes about her friends. I was almost sure she knew someone who has diabetes, at school or in her surroundings. However, she responded that she did not know anybody. Children can feel alone in this journey, and we want to let them know that is not true. There are more than 550 000 children like them around the world.

 Clothes create memories

While creating this first collection, the goal I had in mind was clothes that would fit various kids and make all of them look equally beautiful. Parents who do not have kids with type 1 diabetes also are slowly joining this movement, and with it comes more power. Our wish is that the double sided functional clothes lead to active lives in our kids, and for the clothes to be handed down to younger ones to start their journey all over again.

I use recycled paper labels, GOTS certificated fabrics, and pay attention to other small but meaningful details to help protect Mother Nature.

To make these items, highly skilled hands are required and I am committed to creating a healthy working environment for our sewing craftswomen. I understand that there are many variables for kids to become more self-confident and more active. Parents usually worry if the insulin pump is safe as the device is so expensive. That while hearing the feedback that Our Pocket Hero clothes let all these worries and thoughts go away, and let T1D kids enjoy an active childhood.

In the end, I would like to say that I have so many dreams for this brand. Even though the launching day was postponed for 5 months due the pandemic situation, this project has many long-term goals. Being able to raise awareness through this project helps to disperse various myths about diabetes, while connecting with parents from all over the world. Our clothes hopefully will be adapted to the broader range of age, as well as for the adults as we grow. I would like to unite kids for various workshops and sports activities, as well as camps in the future.

The future belongs to kids, and our pocket heroes’ smiles will make our world happier.

Let kids do what kids do.

Cheerio,

Simona- Founder of Our Pocket Hero

Simona Koncytė
I am a mom of two active boys, creator of Our Pocket Hero brand- www.ourpockethero.com or IG @ourpockethero, I love traveling and good food, and am a big fan of wakeboarding. I dedicate a decent amount of time for that, even if I can’t swim without a lifejacket normally.

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