#96: Janet Hatch & Zandra Soanes | I’m Not a China Doll

Thankfully, many of us living with Type 1 diabetes have a supportive parent(s), but have we really taken time to think about how our diagnosis affected our loved ones. When Janet’s media kit fell on my desk, I knew I wanted to connect. Their story of strength and partnership as they navigated through this disease, both highs and lows, is a reminder – we are not alone. 


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Janet Hatch is the author of the book “Zandra: My Daughter, Diabetes, and Lessons in Love”. She is the mother of four, who’s oldest daughter, Zandra, was diagnosed with diabetes at age 11. The diagnosis of diabetes along with the turbulence of teenage emotions, created an environment that threatened to place distance between them. Throughout the following years and several challenges, love and hope prevailed.

Janet is passionate about using her experience of raising her daughter to support parents and caregivers through the emotional twists and turns of what can be a difficult journey of having a child with a chronic illness. She believes that when we accept that there is a lesson in all things, our spirits are able to grow and expand in ways that weren’t possible before. Janet is a lover of animals and enjoys spending time in nature with family and dog, Axel

Alexandra Soanes (Zandra) was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 11 and has lived with it for almost 10 years. She is in her fourth year of studying science at the University of Victoria and is pursuing a career in human health in hopes of one day becoming a diabetes educator. She has a diabetic alert dog named Cinnamon who detects her low blood sugar, gets juice and her testing kit, and can get help if needed. Cinnamon was instrumental in helping Zandra accept and publicly acknowledge her diagnosis of diabetes.

Zandra has experienced other autoimmune-related diseases such as thyroid disease, hypoglycemia unawareness, vitiligo, neuropathy, and necrobiosis lipoidica. When faced with deteriorating health all before the age of 20, Zandra chose to use these experiences to broaden her perspective and use her personal experience to help others.


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