By Michael Doran
Finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is proving elusive but a group of Healesville families are not prepared to just sit back and wait for the disease to be eradicated.
On Sunday 18 November the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) One Walk made its first visit to Healesville, hosted by Rebecca Collins, whose 10 year-old son Jack has T1D.
“The day went really well and we raised double what we thought we would,” she said. “We had 32 walkers and around 150 supporters turn up to cheer the walkers on and support our fundraising.”
Each year, JDRF One Walks around the globe bring together around a million people to raise over $85 million for life-changing T1D research.
The Healesville day attracted 32 walkers and more than 100 supporters, raising $10,081 for research into curing the disease.
“With support from Yarra Ranges council, Healesville Community Market, Coles and Bakers Delight everything we raised on the day went directly to research,” Ms Collins said.
Healesville Football and Netball Club made their Don Road facilities available and Healesville Auskick provided equipment used in the games on the oval.
The motto for the day was ‘Walk with us and Turn Type 1 into Type None’. The stars were all of those living with T1D who wore orange caps to recognise and celebrate them as the true champions of the day.
While the focus was on fundraising, for Rebecca the day was also about connecting with others in the community whose children are dealing with T1Ds.
“There was a family from Frankston and one from Pakenham and when I looked around I realised I didn’t know the majority of people there,” she said.
“Connecting with other families who are going through the same challenges is great because when you deal with diabetes every day it can often feel like you are on your own.”
A co-organiser was Laura Innes-Mason, whose nine-year-old daughter Rori lives with the disease. It was Laura who first recognised the symptoms and requested the diabetes test for Rori.
“I recognised the symptoms from reading the Babysitter Club books when I was younger, otherwise I don’t think I would have thought about it for a long time,” she said.
Rori was diagnosed when she was five and Jack when he was four. Both families are very thankful that the schools involved, Chum Creek Primary and Healesville Primary, have been supportive and prepared to ‘do whatever it takes to help.’
Whilst Rori and Jack are well-adjusted to living with their disease, Laura said it can impact on their everyday activities.“As much as you want to say it doesn’t, it can,” she said.
Both are already planning for an even bigger event next year and have received lots of offers of help. To learn more about the event or just to connect with other T1D families visit www.facebook.com/jdrfonewalkhealesville.