Federal Parliament - Diabetes

October 19, 2020

Dr ALYI'd like to start by commending the member for Boothby for bringing the attention of the Chamber to type 1 diabetes and, in particular, World Diabetes Day on 14 November, as well as the work that the JDRF, the juvenile diabetes research fund, does. It's very easy in this time of a global pandemic to forget about the families that are living with ongoing conditions, including type 1 diabetes. Even through the pandemic, JDRF and other diabetes foundations are continuing the work of their research and their fundraising. While we don't know what causes type 1 diabetes, researchers are currently looking for triggers, such as viral infections or molecules within the environment and foods. It's important to note that 90 per cent of people living with type 1 diabetes have no family history; it doesn't appear to be a genetic disease, and the majority of people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes are diagnosed before the age of 19.

I'd like to pay heed to Mike Wilson, the CEO of the JDRF, the juvenile diabetes research fund, and Richard Goyder and the Goyder family. Richard Goyder is the co-chair of the JDRF. Normally around this time of the year, my husband and I would be attending the JDRF gala in Perth, lending our support to the JDRF and their mission to continue their research into juvenile diabetes and to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Normally at this time JDRF would be doing a number of fundraising activities, and COVID hasn't stopped them in their efforts. Last year, I attended the JDRF walk in Perth; I MCed the event as well as completed the walk with a team. This year the walk is still going ahead, but people are welcome to join the walk from their own home. The JDRF note that diabetes doesn't stop for a pandemic, so they've got to keep fighting in the most COVID-safe way. People are able to join the JDRF One Walk online. It's a global movement of over a million people with the goal of raising $85 million for type 1 diabetes research. So far, 5,765 soldiers have enlisted in the JDRF Blue Army. They've raised $1,017,637, and a total of—I hope I get this right!—271,597,321 steps have been marched across Australia in support of JDRF.

I also want to make mention of the Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre in Perth, which is staffed by volunteers. It gets no government funding. It's a facility to support families of children and people living with type 1 diabetes. This year I'm really, really proud that they awarded their Superstar Siblings award to Kaitlyn Reynolds, who lives in my electorate of Cowan. The Reynolds family is just such a beautiful, loving family. Their son Lachlan was only recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It's a really proud moment for Kaitlyn to be awarded Superstar Sibling for 2020 by the Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre.

I want to read a little bit about why Kaitlyn got this award. The Type 1 Diabetes Family Centre states that Kaitlyn, who is 16 years old, has shown an enormous amount of strength with the recent loss of her father. She has stepped up and helped with her little brother Lachlan's care through his type 1 journey. Lachlan has significant needle phobia and sensory issues and she has been his support person with every set and sensor change. She holds his hand, hugs him tight and reassures him when he feels like he hates his condition. Lachlan loves his big sister. He calls her his best friend. Kaitlyn is constantly researching and learning about type 1 and how she can help her little brother, whether it's by preparing simple healthy snacks or sensory toys, which she uses her own pocket money to buy, to make him feel comfortable throughout his journey. She goes without so many times so that her little brother never feels left out. Congratulations Kaitlyn, Patricia and Lachlan, and to the Reynolds family.