New partnership: JDRF & SynxBody Q&A

June 11, 2024

We recently caught up with Rachael Ferguson, Synxbody CEO and mum to a child with type 1 diabetes (T1D).  

Synxbody is a podiatry and footcare company, founded by Rachael and her business partner in 2011. They recently entered into partnership with JDRF Australia, with a contribution of $1.00 from every online order to JDRF. 

 You can learn more about that here.  

In this article, we’ll get to know Rachael better and understand what her family’s journey into the world of T1D was like, why research is important to her, and her advice to other corporate organisations considering giving back to T1D.    

Let’s dive in!  

What made you choose JDRF to partner with?  

Supporting JDRF was a natural choice for us after my son Declan was diagnosed with T1D in 2023. It was a life-changing moment for our family, but JDRF have been such a supportive resource since the very beginning. 

Seeing the incredible progress made in treating and managing T1D all thanks to JDRF’s worldwide efforts, made it a no-brainer to team up with such an incredible organisation. 

Did you know anything about type 1 before your sons’ diagnosis?  

Yes, my best friend’s mum had type 1 growing up, so I was always aware of it. I also worked as a podiatrist in high risk footcare for the first seven years of my career, which means I often saw the challenges that diabetes complications can bring. Funnily enough, I almost went down the path of becoming a diabetes educator too, so it is always an area that I have been passionate about. 

What was your son’s diagnosis like? 

My son was feeling unwell, tired, lethargic, losing weight with dark circles under his eyes for around six-eight weeks before we had a diagnosis. We visited three different doctors at the same practice over a month, initially testing for Coeliac, which his sister has, and we knew he had the gene for that too. The bloods came back normal, and all the doctors kept reassuring me he was fine, but he developed ulcers and thrush on his tongue. We also visited the pharmacy multiple times after the treatment didn’t work, as they kept thinking ‘healthy kids just don’t get persistent thrush like this’.   

The night I realised what it could be, I watched him drink a 1L bottle of water in front of me whilst also telling me he was starving after eating a huge dinner again – my brain suddenly realised it could be T1D.   

I hardly slept that night, and the next day I took him to our amazing GP (who had been away) and she asked straight away if anyone had checked his sugars, so she tested, and they were so high they weren’t registering on the glucose monitor, so she was quite confident that it was T1D. The next minute we were on our way to the Perth Children’s Hospital and doctors were waiting for him when we arrived. It was scary, but thankfully whilst his sugars were 37, he was so good at keeping himself hydrated and flushing ketones out that he didn’t have any ketones. I remember the doctors were very surprised at how healthy he appeared upon admission, which I know isn’t often the case for many children.   

How have you adapted to this new life with T1D?   

I feel like the first six months were a blur with so much sleep deprivation and sadness. I felt like I was failing every single day just trying to keep his levels in range and it felt so much harder than even bringing a newborn baby home for the first time.  

There was a lot of grief for our old life and for the freedom Declan had, just being a carefree nine-year-old, but he has really taken everything in his stride which has made it so much easier for us.   

I also struggled with my workload as I travel a lot for my business, and it was hard leaving him for the first few times, but it also helped my husband learn the ropes so we both manage his care along with his older sister who has been incredible.  

Since he got the insulin pump and now 12 months on, I can say we’ve adjusted well and have the mindset that there isn’t anything he can’t do – we just plan for it and there is light at the end of the tunnel again. 

When did you first hear about JDRF?  

In the hospital, we received our welcome backpack and the Rufus bear. Then, we began learning about what JDRF does and the impact they have made on research and the technology we have access to today. I am so grateful for the work that has been done to get us to where we are now.     

Why do you think T1D research is so important?  

It had been 12 years since I really worked with T1D on a regular basis, and the changes that have happened, especially in the last five years, have been absolutely incredible. It makes managing T1D so much easier and helps parents sleep better, keeps children and adults with T1D so much safer, and better managed levels which means less diabetes related complications. That’s all due to research, so it’s absolutely vital.    

Are there any areas of T1D research you are most excited by?   

I am most excited about some of the latest research around regenerating damaged beta cells in the pancreas, I feel like it holds so much promise and I look forward to the results.     

How do you think T1D research could improve your quality of life in the future? 

I know it will continue to make my son’s life easier, keep his T1D well controlled and even give him access to improved treatment options.  

What would you say to another corporate considering partnering with JDRF?  

I think every business that can align with a cause should be looking for one that is making a massive impact to people’s lives through research and advancing technology as it’s our future.   

Giving back and making a difference in the world should be at the forefront of everything we do.   

JDRF is not only serving T1D families, but they are fighting for a world without T1D which is an amazing cause to be aligned with.   


We loved learning about Rachael’s story and hope you did too.

You can see more of her story and catch up on her journey with T1D at her Instagram  

If you’re interested in learning more about Synxbody footcare solutions, click here!