The story of Jonathan Linton of Mistissini

Jonathan was young and fit and healthy. A 15-year-old hunter and high school student and enforcer on the Mistissini Bears hockey team. It couldn't be diabetes.

Could it?

The story of Rose Swallow of Chisasibi

All around her in the dining room, Cree kids were gagging and vomiting at the strange food. This had to be worse than that black mossy plant her grandparents had eaten in the starving times. But Rose forced it down and avoided a beating. “When I grow up,” she thought, “I will have kids. And I will never force them to eat broccoli.” In those years, there was still no talk of diabetes.

The story of Emily Wesley of Oujé-Bougoumou

Over time, even with Emily and her mom doing everything they knew how to do to keep her mom healthy, her mother got sicker. She lost her eyesight, she got heart disease, and eventually her kidneys began to falter and she needed home dialysis.

Once, Emily saw her mother move slowly to the table and sit down and write a letter. She was writing to Emily's father who lived in Québec. Emily knew what the letter said. It said this: "Your daughter Emily is a smart and beautiful girl. She helps me every day. Come and visit her so that she can know her father."

He never did. Emily grew up without meeting her dad. He was killed in a car accident in 1980.

The story of Jack Otter of Waswanipi

After that amputation surgery, Jack spent a week in the hospital in the Intensive Care Unit. One day, the machine hooked up to his heart flatlined and sounded the continual beep of someone no longer alive.

Jack's mother was standing there beside his bed when it happened and she slapped him hard: "Stop fooling around, Jack," she shouted and slapped him again. "You better come back or I'm gonna be so mad at you!"

The story of Jennifer Gloria Lowpez of Waswanipi

When they got home from their Marineland vacation from hell, she found out her handsome boyfriend and father of her four kids was leaving her. And then she found out that he – who had accused her of cheating – had been seeing another woman for a year already. That through the whole family vacation at Marineland he had been telling his girlfriend he had already left Jennifer and the kids. And that he, who had always said he didn’t want more kids, had gotten that other girl pregnant. And, worst of all, that he had made their daughter lie to Jennifer to help cover up his affair.

Her handsome blue-eyed boyfriend was kind of an asshole.

It was a lot to take in.