Sarah King remembers her first One on One event for
young adolescents with type 1 diabetes and their parents, which she
attended as a volunteer.
"It was so much fun. We all had diabetes so there were no
presumptions. We all just got on with it."
Sarah, a nurse at Caboolture Hospital, had been unwell for about
four years when she was finally diagnosed in 2011 with MODY, or
Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young. She was 24.
MODY is a rare form of diabetes which is different from both
type 1 and type 2, and runs strongly in families. MODY is caused by
a mutation (or change) in a single gene. If a parent has this gene
mutation, any child they have has a 50 per cent chance of
inheriting it from them.
At a later appointment with her endocrinologist, test results
showed Sarah had the lowest level of insulin production possible so
she was told "You officially have type 1".
That wasn't the end of it.
About the same time, Sarah was also diagnosed with Cowden
Syndrome, a disorder characterized by multiple noncancerous,
tumour-like growths and an increased risk of developing certain
"It just means that I spend a lot of my life at medical
appointments," Sarah said. "And getting bits cut out of me."
Through living with these conditions, Sarah has developed a
unique way of viewing her diabetes.
"It's not universally destructive. It's not like some illnesses
that you know will kill you. How it manifests in people is
different, and it's how we respond to it that makes the
"The only trait we have in common is that we're all different
and so is how we cope with diabetes."
Sarah says she continues to volunteer at One on One
events because she feels she is helped as much as she helps other
"There was one little girl who was having a really bad night.
She was having hypo after hypo. I was sitting with her and her mum.
Just to keep the conversation going I started talking about my
upcoming overseas trip.
"This girl's eyes lit up and she asked 'Is that even possible'?"
The unspoken words were "if you have diabetes".
Sarah said both she and the little girl's Mum rushed to answer
Sarah thinks One on One events are a valuable tool for
parents to get support, ideas and strategies to help their child
cope with diabetes.
"One Mum came by herself. She was so concerned about her son,
who didn't want to deal with his diabetes. She came on her own to
get some ideas about how to help him."
What will help Sarah?
"It's nice to be a positive role model. No questions, no
judgments. I'm just with the kids, another person with diabetes,
just like them," Sarah said.
The next One on One Parent Seminar will be held in
Brisbane at the Broncos League Club in Red Hill.
Click here for more information.