Living with diabetes is a lot easier when you have support. This World Diabetes Day we are sharing stories about how families rally to support their loved ones with diabetes.
Ollie Zammit was one of the lucky teenagers with type 1 diabetes who sailed on the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure in October, supported by Diabetes WA. He and his mother, Jenny Paine, have been reflecting on how his family support him with his diabetes.
Ollie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes six years ago, when he was nine years old. Jenny said that it changed their life significantly.
“Being the parent of a teenage type 1 child has added challenges. You go to bed every night wondering if your child will wake in the morning. When they go out you constantly worry if they will be OK, have they remembered to take their sugar tablets and set changes with them? A part you wants to give then the space and freedom that comes with being a teenager but you always have that added worry on top of everything else,” Jenny said.
Ollie knows that he’s well supported.
“My mum helps with my diabetes in every way she can, she will count my carbohydrates before dinner for me, draw up insulin for my pump changes. She’s always reminding me when I have to do a calibration or a pump change, or even taking insulin for a meal,” he said.
Ollie’s seven day experience on the Leeuwin tall ship was a major milestone for both him and his family.
“He has been away before but with other children with type 1 and they have had loads of people on hand to assist them deal with hypos or hypers, carb counting and everyday management. He has also been on a couple of school trip for 2-3 days, but this is the first time longer than that without either of us with him and without us being able to monitor his blood glucose,” Jenny said.
“From the Leeuwin experience I hope to learn to stress a little less, relax a little more about Ollie’s life with diabetes, take deep breaths and trust him in his management of type 1. I want to give him wings to fly, the freedom and control he deserves, but also to be there to guide him, help when he needs it and support him any way I can with his type 1.
“My most amazing achievement in my life, my son Oliver never ceases to amaze me with how he manages this disease – he just picks himself up and gets on with it. I hope life will be good to him and he will continue to be a fantastic, well rounded young man who can achieve whatever he wants with diabetes.”