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How you can help ordinary families win the fight against diabetes

Maria girls

Maria's girls: Clarissa, Lillian and Francis.

 

Imagine having not one, not two, but three beautiful children all diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The shock of the diagnoses threw the Dent family into a spin, desperate for resources, information and support.

 

You can help us support families like the Dents by contributing to our programs.  

 

It's a daily necessity - a family lifeline, and your financial support can help make it happen.

 

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Last year, Maria Dent was scrolling through family photos when she noticed changes in her 12-year old eldest daughter, Francis, and Lillian, then aged five. Their thin appearance was the first indication that something was wrong.

 

Usually an energetic little girl, Lillian was guzzling water, waking up at night for the bathroom and another drink, and asking to go to bed much earlier than usual. Maria's fears spiralled.

 

"In my mind I thought my daughter was dying,"Maria remembers.

 

Their diagnosishappened on their third trip to the doctor, when Maria insisted on a blood-test.

 

After a two-night hospital stay, Maria and her husband Daniel were dealing with the unbelievable news that both their girls had type 1 diabetes, the first siblings the doctors had seen who were diagnosed with type 1 at the same time.

 

By year's end, middle daughter Clarissa had fallen ill. She was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, on her parents' wedding anniversary.

 

"The stress and the shock, it's a life-changing thing for the whole family,"Maria said.

 

It got worse when a colleague told Maria of a girl with type 1 who died in the night when her blood glucose levels crashed. Now, on most nights, 3AM sees Maria creep in to check the girls' BGLs and to satisfy herself that all is still well.

 

More lasting reassurance will come thanks to the lobbying efforts of Diabetes Queensland, that have provided families like the Dents access to Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) equipment from April 1, 2017.

 

"I believe that the technology will provide better monitoring and management of the girls' diabetes (levels)," Maria said. "I hope that the CGM will ease the worry of hypoglycaemia events when they are asleep."

 

Diabetes Queensland needs you to help us further extend our support to children like Francis, Clarissa and Lillian.
It's our goal to build the network of care in the community, informing authorities and teachers, school staff and other carers, so that children living with diabetes are safe.

 

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Simple posters, awareness and education programs and family events, like kid's camps and group discussions offer reassurance to affected children and enormous help and support to their families.

 

"The girls are getting to know there are quite a few other kids like them, and it's a big part of them accepting what they're going through," Maria says."

 

"For me, it was disappointing to realise every one of our girls has type 1 diabetes.

 

"But I also think if they can be confident in who they are, and not embarrassed about their diabetes, they will cope well and they can be whoever they want to be."

 

For families like the Dents, support from an organisation like Diabetes Queensland means ready access to independent, authoritative diabetes advice and advocacy.

 

Francis

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