In addition to working hard in school and spending time with family and friends, Brianna Sparrow lives every day with Type 1 Diabetes, an illness that constantly threatens her immune system and undermines her health.
Unlike Type 2 diabetes, which people can develop and control over time, Type 1 diabetes is a permanent condition that Sparrow has to manage with injections or an insulin pump.
"I had to grow up fast because, if I didn't take responsibility for my health, I could die," she explains. "I've had to miss months of school at a time, and I'm really grateful for our aboriginal support worker, my friends and the staff at Point Grey for keeping me on track."
Part Musqueum, part Cree and part Norwegian, Sparrow comes from a long line of community leaders. Her uncle is Chief of the Musqueum First Nation, and her aunt and cousin are on the Council. Not surprisingly, Sparrow is very interested in law and issues related to social justice, particularly when it comes to children.
When Sparrow graduates, she plans to attend Langara College to prepare for a career in childcare or law.
"Others in my family never finished school," she says. "And that's why I work so hard - to make my family proud of me."