Tineke Dean and her grandson Jacob Lowns.
Tineke Dean and her grandson Jacob Lowns. Contributed

Children's daily dose of pain

IMAGINE having to prick your fingers up to eight times a day before being injected with life-saving insulin five times daily.

For Sunshine Coast children such as Jacob Lowns and the thousands of other Australians living with Type 1 diabetes, this is their life.

But that routine is something Jacob's dedicated grandmother, Tineke Dean, and mothers Jackie Goldston and Lee Maker, are trying to change.

The three women met while volunteering for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and together organised the Walk to Cure Diabetes this Sunday.

Jacob, 8, was diagnosed last December after developing an ear infection.

A shock to his family, his diagnosis meant learning quickly to adapt to a new lifestyle.

"It was pretty traumatic for Jacob when he was first diagnosed," Tineke said.

"He had to learn very quickly to do the finger pricking and the injections on his own so that he could go back to school."

About 2300 people have Type 1 diabetes on the Sunshine Coast, from a total 125,000 suffering nation-wide.

Type 1 diabetes is caused when the pancreas does not secrete enough insulin and the body is starved of glucose.

At this stage, Type 1 diabetes has no cure, and those diagnosed are insulin-dependent for life.

Jackie's daughter Freya was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at just 11 months.

"When Freya was diagnosed, I had no idea about diabetes," Jackie said.

With the diagnosis came a new routine, which involved checking Freya's insulin levels every two to three hours, even during the night, and giving her regular insulin injections.

Jackie's greatest hope is to raise awareness and education about the disease.

"We just really want to raise awareness and remove a lot of the prejudice which is associated with having diabetes," she said.

"A lot of people have preconceived ideas that it's caused by being overweight, and that's hard for the kids to deal with.

"They haven't done anything wrong and they didn't have a choice."

Joining Tineke and Jackie at the event is Lee, whose daughter Lilli was diagnosed four years ago.

The Makers are no strangers to the disease - Lilli's dad, Warren, was diagnosed when he was 12.

"I just really hope we can raise awareness and education about Type 1 diabetes, and ultimately, to find a cure," Lee said.

The walk will take place at Cotton Tree Park in Maroochydore.

Registration starts at 8.30am and the walk begins at 9am.

A range of activities and stalls will be there for the kids, and a fundraising sausage sizzle will be held.

Register for the Walk to Cure Diabetes at http://walk.jdrf.org.au/

 

TYPE 1 DIABETES FACTS

  1. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that usually occurs in childhood but can be diagnosed at any age, and affects 122,300 people in Australia.
  2. Every day, another six children are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
  3. About 95% of children with diabetes suffer from Type 1.
  4. Type 1 Diabetes is monitored by insulin injections and blood sugar testing through pricking the finger 4-5 times daily.
  5. Type 1 diabetes occurs in children more commonly than cancer, cystic fibrosis, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy.


- From the website: http://www.jdrf.org.au/living-with-type-1-diabetes/what-is-type-1-diabetes



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