Inspired by his son’s love for Marvel comics and the super-powered Avengers, a dad in the United Kingdom has penned a new book for kids with type 1 diabetes (T1D): “The Adventures of Captain Lantus.”
This charming volume is set in a fictional place called Beta Town, where everyone has diabetes — and honestly, my 7-year-old-self would have swooned at the idea of becoming a superhero using diabetes tools to confront and conquer all of life’s glucose-related challenges.
The D-Dad behind this new 32-page children’s book is Gary Rapson of Cannock, England, whose son, Max, was diagnosed with T1D as a toddler.
The story comes to life with colorful characters like King Carb and Mayor Bolus, along with a magical power source known as “the Insulin Cube.”
DiabetesMine obtained an early draft of the e-book for review before its official release in September 2020, and we are inspired.
Spoiler alert: We’re going to share some story details.
Everyone in Beta Town is protected by a magical force called “the Insulin Cube,” but one day it’s stolen and the hero of the story — young Max — embarks on a secret project to recover the enchanted power source. Max is working with town leader “Mayor Bolus” to develop an amazing insulin pump that can provide superpowers to someone in case the cube is ever stolen.
As it happens, once activated, the pump turns Max into “Captain Lantus,” who then is able to save the day.
Weaved into this fun superhero storyline are numerous reflections on diabetes management and what it’s like to live with this condition as a young kid — including constant blood sugar testing, insulin dosing, and balancing food.
Even as a 40-something Marvel fan (who’s had T1D since age 5), I couldn’t stop smiling at how cute this is. And the message of empowerment for confronting daily diabetes challenges is paramount.
Everything in the book comes down to the mind of a young child. Now 7, young Max was diagnosed at only 18 months old. In fact, he was misdiagnosed at first, Rapson tells us. The doctor told the family Max had a common cold and needed simple antibiotics — despite rapid weight loss, unquenchable thirst, and excessive urinating.
That was October 30, 2014. The following day was Halloween and the Rapson family was hosting a party. But Max “took a turn for the worse,” his dad recalls.
“My wife was watching a TV show where they were talking about symptoms of type 1 and what to look out for, so she immediately called me at work and told me she believed this is what Max had,” he says.
They took Max back to the family doctor, who immediately instructed them to drive their son to the hospital, where he then slipped into a coma for the next 48 hours.
“This was by far the worst couple of days of our lives,” Rapson says, noting that they eventually got Max on an insulin pump at age 3. “Fast forward 5 years, and you can imagine how proud I am to have been able to bring his idea to life for him and how something so positive has come from something so negative. Max is now 7 and doing brilliantly.”
Max’s own feelings about the insulin pump are what led to this children’s book.
Although they were happy to get Max on a pump at such a young age, it was no easy feat, Rapson explains.
“The day Max was fitted with his pump was a very emotional day, for us it was like starting all over again,” he says.
“For Max, it was frightening and very confusing to see this wire and machine attached to him. Before this, diabetes was invisible to others but now it’s for everyone to see. The hospital gave us so much information and support, which we can’t thank them enough for. However, Max, himself, had nothing apart from our reassurance.”
Just before Christmas 2019, Max came home from school and told his parents he wanted to write a story. His story would be one about a young boy given superpowers from his insulin pump — similar to how Ironman has powers in The Avengers.
That paved the way for Captain Lantus, Rapson says, but it wasn’t until the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown that the storyline truly took shape.
During the early days of the U.K.’s lockdown, Rapson says his job as a maintenance manager in the retail sector was at risk, and as hard as that was, it opened up a door to invest in bringing Max’s idea to life. He spent most of the past several months completing the book and gearing up for a Fall 2020 launch, complete with a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for the project.
“This story would have been amazing to have when Max was given his pump, making him feel like a superhero and no longer afraid or confused,” Rapson says. “That also would have had a massive impact on myself and my wife knowing he was OK.”
“This book means the world to us and we know it will have such a positive effect on other children like Max all over the world,” he adds.
The Rapsons have set up a Facebook page for the Captain Lantus book, and they’re looking forward to seeing the D-Community’s response. The book is available for purchase on the family’s website in e-book form for 7.99 euros (around $9.40), or you can order a signed copy for 10 euros (roughly $11.75).
Interested in winning a free copy of Gary Rapson’s book “The Adventures of Captain Lantus”? We thank the author for helping us give away a free copy to one lucky reader. Here’s how to enter:
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the codeword “DM-CaptainL” in the subject line to let us know you’re hoping to win. You can also ping us on Twitter or our Facebook page using the same codeword. For shipping purposes, we must limit the giveaway to those with mailing addresses within the United States.
- You have until 5 p.m. PST on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, to enter.
- The winners will be chosen using Random.org.
- Winners will be announced on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, via social media, so please be sure to keep tabs on your email / Facebook / Twitter messenger box, as that’s how we contact our winners. (If winners don’t respond within a week, we select an alternate.)
We’ll update this post to announce the winner.
Best of luck to all!