MEDOWIE children who are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes have a wonderful support group available to them, made up of parents from the area, whose children have been diagnosed.
In 2010, Bart and Naomi Jarvis’s daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age nine.
Another mother with a diabetic child contacted Naomi whilst still in hospital, offering support, and she remembers it as being a very special moment – knowing that another mother was there for her, and understood.
When Susan and Chris Patten’s son was diagnosed the following year, Naomi was able to pay forward that support by contacting Susan and offering hers.
The women saw the need in the community, and created an informal catch up group for parents.
They have since been joined by Megan and Scott Mackersey and Peter and Maryke Lee.
News Of The Area met with these families, and listened to their stories about their children, their diagnoses, and their desire to make sure their Children are comfortable discussing their conditions and feel supported to ask for help if needed.
The group get together throughout the year, and would like to extend an offer to any other families in the greater area with a diabetic child to join them.
Susan Patten told News Of The Area, “One thing I remember is that it’s not just the child with type 1 diabetes, it’s the whole family. It doesn’t just affect that one child, the whole family has to learn to deal with it.”
The group of parents have shared many experiences, and supported each other through some trying times.
One of the most frustrating things they have found is the misconceptions about type 1 diabetes, and comments from strangers about how the children have come to be diagnosed – that it was somehow something they brought upon themselves through lifestyle and lack of exercise.
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease that attacks and kills the islet cells in the pancreas, resulting in the sufferer unable to produce insulin.
The result being the sufferer needing to replace this insulin via pump or needle every single day.
Sadly, the Hunter has the second highest rate of type 1 diabetes – second only to Finland.
Any potential cause or links for this remain unknown.
Symptoms to look out for with undiagnosed type 1 diabetes include, but are not limited to; excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision and odd behaviour.
If you were to have concerns for your child, please consult a doctor.
If your child suffers from type 1 diabetes and you would like to join these parents, Susan can be contacted for information at email@example.com
By Rachael VAUGHAN