Today we walked 5 kilometres in the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation annual walk. Our niece is a Type-1 Diabetic. Until she was diagnosed I had no real understanding of Type-1 beyond Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias and the occasional very intense parent over the years at the primary school. I didn’t understand why there were intense, but now I do.
Every Single Day my sister keeps her daughter alive. There is no off or down time. Every day food must be weighed, blood must be tested and the correct insulin administered. There is no room for my sister to have a ‘night out’ as there are few, even those of us close to her, who can read our niece the way that she can. Being a single parent makes every day a struggle – rarely does my sister get a full nights sleep.
I’m ashamed by how little I knew and how little I cared. It must be said that if ever here was a time for a Type-1 Diabetic to be alive, it’s today. With research making it easier to live – the pump means fewer injections. Today we found out that a new pump soon to be released may mean fewer finger pricks.
It’s an expensive disease too. Thousands of dollars spent each year just to give our niece the tools she needs to lead a ‘normal’ active ten year old’s life. My sister’s budgeting skills are second to none. I wonder how many families are unable to afford the pump (and to keep it going – another cost).
In Brisbane we have been lucky to be able to access Moreton Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Centre and the full range of health professionals that attend there. They have been wonderful. This year we all wore our Deadly Choices shirts as a shout-out to them and the work they do.
If you have time or room, I’d fully recommend supporting Type-1 Diabetes research.
Image: A family of 11 people, some old (grandparents), adults, teenagers and young children. All are wearing Deadly Choices shirts in different styles. They’re standing in a park under a large banner that is the “Starting Line” of the JDRF Awareness Walk.