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Six years ago our world changed forever

May 23, 2019

Jamie Romanin is an avid cyclist from Sydney and a two-time contender in the World Masters Championships. He is the former Managing Director of International Cycling Executives and currently works in a global role for CISCO. He writes below of his personal journey with type 1 diabetes through his daughter Allanah:

Almost 6 years ago to the day our world changed forever.

Until that point it was easy to take each day for granted; family outings, meals, celebrations and good health. Both my wife and I and our two wonderful children lead an active and healthy life. Keeping fit and healthy has been of utmost importance for me since as long as I can remember and I’m proud that our children are following suit, even at the young ages of eight and ten.

One Monday morning in May of 2013, a call from my wife left me in a state of denial and confusion. Our GP had sent Alannah to Randwick Children’s Hospital suspecting Type 1 Diabetes.

In the week prior, we woke more often than not, finding Alannah had wet the bed, something she had never done before. We also noticed that she was overly thirsty. “I’m sure it’s nothing,” I kept saying, until one night Alannah woke calling for water then continued to consume an entire water bottle in one hit.

“Diabetes? Are you sure? I’m sure he is mistaken, and what does Type 1 mean?” I was in disbelief.

After a long afternoon in emergency, it was confirmed, our 2 ½ year old had Type 1 Diabetes.  Nothing to do with health, diet or lifestyle as I naively believed previously, Diabetes is a life-long autoimmune disease that usually occurs in childhood and affects over 122,000 people in Australia alone.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system mistakenly turning on itself, destroying beta cells within the pancreas and removing the body’s ability to produce insulin.

Six years into Alannah’s life long journey it still pains me every time we need to prick her finger or give one of her 4 insulin injections per day. To see such a beautiful little child have to go through that, knowing it is for the rest of her life, is still extremely hard to grasp.Alannah however, is amazingly strong and adapted to her new way of life very quickly. She still bounced around like a bubbly 2 ½ year old, annoyed her big brother and tested our patience – as she still does today.

The experience reminded me once again to live it to its fullest and take nothing for granted. It’s been comforting to learn how much support there is for Diabetes sufferers and their families. We got ourselves involved in the community around diabetes and especially JDRF Australia, which has been doing amazing research work on Type 1 Diabetes for decades.

As I’m a keen bike rider, it was great to see how the cycling community had gathered around JDRF for years in support its annual fundraising ride in the Barossa. This year they’re changing it up a bit and creating an indoor and virtual event using Zwift.

On July 27 cyclists of all abilities are invited to participate in this indoor challenge from one of the live venues (the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Sydney or the DISC velodrome in Melbourne) or to enter as a virtual team or individual from wherever you are around Australia or around the world.

Thanks to the support of Cycling Australia, Cycling NSW and Cycling Victoria, and many industry partners, the event looks like it will be a lot of fun and a big success. Participants will be doing their thing on their Zwift set-ups in the infield and will be able to watch great track racing at the same time. It will be set around the penultimate stage of the Tour de France. There’ll be great food, music and a festive vibe. The event will broadcast live, so if you’re participating virtually, you’ll still feel very much a part of it, as you’ll be able to see everything happening in front of you.

Please consider joining us for this inaugural JDRF Le Tour Virtuel. For more info and to sign up please click here.

Jamie Romanin

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