Type 1 diabetes isn’t usually a death sentence, but it is a life sentence according to Albion Park woman Laura Mayberry.
Diagnosed 25 years ago at nine years old, Mrs Mayberry said treatments had since come a long way, but a cure had yet to be found.
That’s something her husband Luke is hoping to help change by embarking on a charity walk on September 23 to support vital research by the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
Along with good friend Rodney Horan, he will walk 638 kilometres from Wagga (his wife’s hometown) to Wollongong over three weeks – arriving back on October 14.
‘’The most difficult part about living with Type 1 diabetes is constantly balancing sugar levels and insulin doses to reduce long-term complications,’’ Mr Mayberry said.
‘’I’ve seen how my wife has had to adapt her life due to the condition, and we also have friends whose children have been diagnosed at a young age.
‘’If we can help raise funds for research so kids like these can have a better future, then that’s great.
‘’Our original fundraising goal was $20,000 but we’ve already surpassed that thanks to some incredible support, so anything else is a bonus.’’
Family and friends will join the two men along the last leg of the walk, with stops at Shellharbour, Warrawong and Wollongong.
That includes Lee Martin who’ll be bringing along his five-year-old son Aidan, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at three.
‘’He just wasn’t himself, was really fatigued and going to the toilet every 15 minutes,’’ Mr Martin said.
‘’Thankfully by the time he started Kindy we’d been able to get his condition managed through an insulin pump, which has been far more accurate.’’
Another friend, Patrice Saywell, also manages her seven-year-old daughter Madeleine’s condition with an insulin pump.
‘’It’s allowed her to go from five or six injections of insulin a day, to one every three days,’’ Mrs Saywell said.
Mrs Mayberry said such advances in treatment were only possible through research, such as that done by JDRF.
‘’There’s now less intrusive treatment options – for instance I now wear a patch that I can scan with a machine to monitor my glucose levels,’’ she said.
‘’However what we’re really hopeful of is that one day there will be a cure, so that kids who are diagnosed in childhood don’t have to spend the rest of their life monitoring their condition.’’
The two men have organised a number of local fundraisers in the lead-up, as well as an online fundraiser at give.everydayhero.com/au/wagga-to-wollongong-walk