Thank You Thursday posts have always been about highlighting the smaller, less publicised organisations or younger, more recently founded campaigns, but just for today that is going to change. Today I’m going to talk about a much bigger campaign. One that has been going on for over ten years, I think, for a cause that affects many Australians and is very close to my heart.
Australia has one of the highest rates of type 1 (juvenile) diabetes in the world, with more than 140,000 children and adults suffering from the disease. One of those people is my brother; let’s call him The Fish Bro.
The Fish Bro was diagnosed with Diabetes when he was seven years old. In fact, he was in hospital for his 7th birthday. I was four years old and remember it all quite well.
Diabetes is basically an autoimmune disease where the pancreas doesn’t work and stops producing insulin. Insulin is a type of hormone that is used by the body to regulate sugar levels in the blood. A Diabetic person must have daily doses of insulin via an injection (often up to four every day!) to make up for this break down in the pancreas. They must also monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day with a small finger pricking machine (that hurts like hell I can personally say as I’ve had the odd finger prick with The Fish Bro when we were growing up).
No one knows for sure what causes type 1 diabetes, but researchers say your genes play a role. That doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get it, though, if one of your parents or siblings has it. Mum and Dad had no idea why The Fish Bro got it. They didn’t have it. No one in their families had it. And even now, The Fish Bro has had two wonderful children and they don’t have it. Unlike type 2 diabetes, Juvenile Diabetes is not preventable, and is not yet curable.
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) celebrates Jelly Baby Month this month and sells jelly baby themed merchandise to raise money to fund important research to find a cure. A cure that will change the lives of many Australian children and adults and their families. A cure that I hope to see in my lifetime.
Jelly babies are the JDRF’s mascot as they can literally be a lifesaver for people with type 1 diabetes. Jelly babies are often eaten by people with the disease as a quick source of sugar when their blood sugar level falls critically low.
Today, on Thank You Thursday, The Fish Chick acknowledges the JDRF for their tireless work for the cause, all the scientists and researchers around the globe working hard to find the cure and, of course, to my brother The Fish Bro for living with such a horrible disease for most of his childhood and all of his adult life and not complaining about it once.
See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick.
P.S If you’d like to support the cause, you can buy a jelly baby pen, badge or other merchandise (including a little bag of jelly babies) from most Woolworths, Amcal Chemists and Discount Vitamin Warehouses until the end of May.