GRIEVANCE DEBATE - TYPE 1 DIABETES
Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Today I’d like to speak on one of the most serious health issues this country faces: type 1 diabetes. I’d like to share the personal stories of some of my constituents who have type 1 diabetes, to highlight the importance of this issue and to show what this Government is doing to support diabetics and their families.
Type 1 diabetes is not preventable or curable. It’s a chronic, life-long and life-threatening condition. Type 1 diabetics face a constant struggle to keep their blood sugar levels stable. Without around-the-clock checks the consequences can be dire. This ranges from minor complications to something as terrible as passing away in one’s sleep from Dead in Bed Syndrome.
Many parents have shared with me the stress and anxiety of life with a child with type 1 diabetes. Imagine living with the fear your little one might not wake up every time they go to sleep. One mother wrote to me about the constant battle to keep her 2-year-old boy’s sugar levels within a safe range. This little boy has to be woken by his parents several times in the night to monitor his blood sugar levels.
Another father shared with me how he has to check his 6-year-old son three times a night, every night, and spend hours getting his blood sugar back to normal. He gets 20 minutes of sleep between checks. Just imagine the toll this would take.
That’s why I was thrilled when the Coalition Government announced in May this year that it will invest $54 million to subsidise continuous glucose monitoring technology for children and young adults under 21 to help them manage their type 1 diabetes. Our commitment to subsidise CGM devices on the National Diabetes Services Scheme will benefit an estimated 4000 young diabetics.
CGM devices help children and their parents monitor their blood sugar levels around the clock through a small, wearable device that will instantly warn them if glucose levels are getting too low. This removes the need to draw blood through a finger prick multiple times a day.
I’ve received overwhelming support for this initiative from my constituents. One young woman who’s already trialled the technology told me it’s saved her many times. She’s able to sleep right through the night for the first time in five years! The peace of mind CGM devices give to type 1 diabetics is priceless and I’m proud to be part of a Government that’s supporting the use of this amazing technology.
I’m also proud to support initiatives working toward a cure for type 1 diabetes. Just recently I met with Cheryl Burton and her 18-year-old son Joshua. Josh has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was 4 years old. He’s passionate about a cure that would help him and thousands of others live a normal life free of fingerpicks and the lingering fear that comes with this autoimmune disease.
Right now Josh is fundraising for the JDRF One Walk. JDRF’s mission is to raise funds for scientific research to better treat, prevent, and ultimately cure type 1 diabetes. The JDRF One Walk is the world’s biggest type 1 diabetes fundraising event, raising over $85 million each year for life-changing research. Well done to Josh for supporting this vital cause. I wish him all the best in future.
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening disease that sadly is too often confused with type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors. I will continue to raise awareness of this condition and I will continue to support this Government’s efforts to support Australians living with type 1 diabetes.