THOMAS Lancaster has plenty of reasons to remember his 11th birthday.
It was October 2, 2009, but the day turned out to be even more eventful, finishing with him in a hospital bed beside his grandfather after finding out he was a Type 1 diabetic.
His mother, Nicole Lancaster, said it was a day the family would never forget.
"Thomas's grandfather has been a Type 1 diabetic for 57 years and he was staying with us," she said.
"He was waiting for Thomas to come back from a school camp and was playing with my three-year-old daughter in the pool.
"She came into me saying 'grandpa doesn't want to play with me any more'.
"I didn't think much of if, but when I went out a couple of minutes later, I found him on the bottom of the pool."
Between them Nicole and husband David dragged the unconscious 78-year-old out of the pool and Nicole administered first-aid while they waited for an ambulance.
"He'd stopped breathing, but we got him back," she said. "The ambulance officers arrived and took him off to hospital."
In the midst of the drama they suddenly realised they had to pick up Thomas from the bus.
David Lancaster was still dripping wet from the rescue when he picked Thomas up off the bus.
But his son did not look good. The family had noticed Thomas had been losing weight for a couple of months.
"He went hypo (a fit caused by hypoglycemia or low blood sugar levels) and we took him to emergency," Nicole said. "He was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic and ended up in a hospital bed next to his grandfather."
Jump forward two years and Thomas is in total control of his life.
A busy 12-year-old with sporting and social commitments, Thomas refuses to let diabetes slow him down.
He has become an ambassador for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and to mark his 13th birthday will hold a fundraising walk to raise money to help find a cure for his illness.
"It (Type 1 diabetes) is a permanent condition that cannot be cured by diet or exercise," Thomas said.
"Every day children like me either need up to four insulin injections or to be hooked up to an insulin pump, combined with multiple finger prick blood sugar tests, just to stay alive."
How you can help find a cure.
- Contact Thomas on 6643 1688 at home or his mum's mobile, 0414 614 515 or google the JDRF Walk for a Cure website.
- Businesses and individuals can donate raffle prizes.
- Those wishing to take part in the walk from 9.30am on Sunday, October 2, from Corindi to Red Rock beaches can contact Thomas or go to the website, look for Walk Locations. You will find Team Thomas listed under Grafton.