Fifty years after she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes,
Bundaberg's Maria Lavaring received a medal to mark the
"I was only 13 months old and still living in Cyprus when I was
first diagnosed with diabetes," said Maria.
"We moved to Australia in 1963 and settled in Mareeba in North
"There was only one other person in the
town with diabetes and no-one knew much about it. So it was tough
on me and my family."
Unlike type 2 diabetes, the onset of type 1 cannot be predicted
or slowed through treatment, diet or exercise. It is an autoimmune
condition that destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
Nearly 23,000 Queenslanders have type 1 diabetes and must inject
synthetic insulin several times a day.
The challenge for people injecting insulin is finding the
delicate balance between the danger of a coma caused by
hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose, or hypo) on one hand and the
deadly risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, caused by hyperglycaemia
(high blood glucose), on the other.
Maria celebrated her 50th anniversary of living with type 1
diabetes at a special morning tea for Kellion Victory Medal
recipients, hosted by Diabetes Queensland on Sunday 14 July to mark
the beginning of National Diabetes Week.
The medals were presented by Dr Alan Stocks AM of the Kellion
Maria said, "Over the years I've had quite a few health problems
including asthma, osteoporosis, breast cancer, pneumonia and heart
disease. But I'm still here because I'm a real fighter."
"There are so many people who are worse off than me. I'll
continue to battle on," she said.