Paige and her family’s experience living with T1D

February 02, 2022

Paige was 12 years old when her mum was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was a diagnosis which changed her and her family’s life forever. This year, she took on the Blue Hair Challenge to bring awareness to this disease and raise funds for life changing T1D research, not only for her mum, but other families living with T1D too.

Here is Paige’s story…

The year was 2004. I was just 12 years old and in my last year of primary school. My sister was only 9 and my brother was 5. 2004 will always be the year that changed my families life, but most of all my mums life.  

My mum had been feeling all kinds of symptoms but she didn’t think nothing of them until one particular day she was driving. I was in the front seat of the car and out of nowhere she lost her eyesight and couldn’t see. She then started to lose control of her hands and was no longer able to steer. At 12 years old I managed to grab the wheel and veer the car off the road.

I was scared I didn’t know what was happening, but my first instinct was to get her some fluids or some sort of food – maybe she hadn’t eaten that day because she was always so busy! I saw a Bunnings and ran straight to the pop up Bunnings sausage sizzle. I grabbed the full sugared coke and a sausage on bread and bolted back to the car.

By this point she was not able to chew so I had to try and get her to swallow the coke without choking and call my father. It was then that we all realised something was very wrong with my mum.

She booked an appointment with her doctor, and they did many tests to confirm their suspicions as they knew our family medical history. Her father also had T1D and sadly he succumbed to diabetic Heart attack in 1992.

Everything sort of happened so quick from that moment. My sister and I were dragged along to many diabetic specialist appointments with mum where we learned all about her disease and how to help mum manage it, what to do during an episode, and how to help mum use her insulin injections.

Mum learnt how to use needles and everything. It was a lot to take in at 12 years old. However, being the eldest, I was determined to make sure mum was okay.

Fast forward to 2022 Mum has lived with her condition for 18 years. It’s been a tough 18 years of managing her condition. The main one would be maintaining her blood sugars and what foods sends them up and down. It became very frustrating as at one point no matter what she ate her sugars were always in the high 20s. She’s had many hospital and ambulance rides in these years and many scares for us as a family.  

My mum is a very strong women. She’s suffered a lot of other health problems caused by her diabetes such as kidney issues and issues with chronic pain and nerve damage in her feet and legs. Still she gets up every day with confidence and a big smile. She currently holds a job working as an admin clerk in the specialists clinics at the Royal Childrens Hospital in Melbourne. But most of all she’s my mum and I love her. This fundraiser is very close to my heart. I would love to find a cure for T1D and put an end to this disease not only for my mum and many of my other family members who have also been diagnosed, but for future generations as well.

If you’d like to support Paige’s Blue Hair Challenge, click below!