Mum's mission to help type 1 diabetics
ONE of Gladstone's newest residents Jaceen Ross is leaving town for a good reason as she embarks on an important trip to Canberra to talk type 1 diabetes funding with politicians.
Ms Ross moved to Gladstone from Toowoomba in June for financial and climate reasons, all linked to the daily struggles of a type 1 diabetic, but she'll travel even further today as she boards her first flight.
She will join others from across the country in a plea that government provide the same support to adults as they do children with type 1 diabetes - access to life saving technology known as a Continuous Glucose Monitor.
CGMs help people manage diabetes, greatly minimise the risk of serious morbidity such as kidney damage, blindness and amputation, and prevent death as a result of a very low blood sugar level during sleep.
The Canberra contingent was formed by the DANII Foundation, which was founded in 2012 following the death of type 1 sufferer Danii Meads-Barlow from "dead in bed" syndrome in 2011.
The foundation's campaign was instrumental in securing government funding for all type 1 diabetics under the age of 21, but the mission remains to ensure all 140,000 Australians living with type 1 diabetes can gain access to CGM.
Ms Ross will meet with MPs Ken O'Dowd, Michelle Landry, Catherine King and Health Minister Greg Hunt alongside Senators Anthony Chisholm and Claire Moore and the Parliamentary Friends of Diabetes tomorrow to lobby for subsidies for people over the age of 21.
Ms Ross said one of the main challenges of being a type 1 diabetic was simply staying alive.
"The biggest thing is the fear of going to sleep at night and not waking up," she said.
"Mental health-wise it's a massive stress. I've had it for 31 years and coming from rural and regional areas all my life I've missed out on the best care and technology in my early life due to expenses, distance and the impacts of these on my family members.
"It took a heavy burden on my family financially, emotionally and for me, physically as well."
The condition also forced her family to move from Toowoomba.
"I moved here for weather because I suffer from neuropathy which can effect nerve endings on the outside of the skin but also internally in the organs," Ms Ross said.
"If it's extreme cold where I've come from, it's very painful."
The 39-year-old said financial factors were also behind the move north.
"To run my insulin pump is roughly about $250 per month to run on its own and that comes out of my own pocket.
"With the complications I already have - medications, seeing specialists, Allied Health professionals, podiatry, eyesight appointments - it's been a struggle to keep those up but I do it because I want a quality of life for my daughter and to have her mum be physically able to keep up with her."