80 years helping Aussies living with diabetes

On Thursday, 26 July 2018, Diabetes NSW & ACT together with Abbott and BridgeClimb Sydney, took 80 children and adults living with type 1 diabetes on a night time climb of Sydney Harbour Bridge to celebrate the organisations 80th birthday.

Diabetes NSW & ACT has been helping people living with or at risk of diabetes, their families and carers since 1938 through educational, advocacy and research services to help those in the diabetes community can live their best lives.

Sturt Eastwood, CEO Diabetes NSW & ACT said: “We are incredibly excited to share this experience with a special group of our members and their families. It’s such a great way to mark our 80th birthday.”

“There are almost 435,000 people in NSW and the ACT living with diabetes who need ongoing support to manage their condition. We play a key role by raising awareness of the signs and symptoms, advocating for life saving technologies as well as providing educational programs to improve diabetes self-management,” said Mr Eastwood.

During its recent National Diabetes Week campaign, the organisation focused on lifting knowledge of the signs and symptoms of diabetes to save lives. A delayed diabetes diagnosis can have very serious consequences. Failure to detect type 1 diabetes can be fatal while for type 2 diabetes it can lead to serious health complications.

Mr Eastwood said, “Our data shows that one in five people with type 1 diabetes are only diagnosed after being admitted to hospital with diabetes ketoacidosis, an acute complication which can be fatal. Similarly, a delayed diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can seriously impact a person’s health. Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, amputation, kidney damage and heart attack in Australia.”

“The best way to avoid these critical health issues is early detection and management. That’s why we want everyone to be aware of the signs of diabetes known as the 4T’s: thirst, toilet, tired and thinner,” said Mr Eastwood.

The 80 guests Diabetes NSW & ACT took to the top of the Bridge all live with type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic condition in children and half those diagnosed with type 1 in NSW and the ACT the past year were kids and teens.

Last year, Molly aged nine was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Molly’s Mum Kirsty thought she was experiencing severe gastro and dehydration but things changed quickly when she was admitted to hospital.

“The second they pricked her finger and the numbers appeared on the monitor I knew exactly what it was. I still can’t think of that night without crying. It changed everything. It’s so great to be invited to share in the bridge climb. Diabetes NSW & ACT have made such a difference for us. They’ve provided educational programs and given us a support network that has changed our lives,” said Kirsty.

Global healthcare company Abbott, sponsors of the climb recently launched the FreeStyle LibreLink App, enabling glucose monitoring through a smartphone synced to the FreeStyle Libre sensor.

“The convenience and ease that FreeStyle Libre offers is hard to top, but Abbott’s FreeStyle LibreLink app does exactly that. The app along with the FreeStyle Libre sensor makes glucose monitoring discreet and hassle-free, helping people with diabetes live their best lives possible. What better way to demonstrate this than by supporting these 80 climbers heading to the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge,” said Peter Chalikias, Regional Director, Abbott.

Mr Eastwood said, “Thursday was very special night for Diabetes NSW & ACT, our members and supporters. Reaching our 80th birthday is a significant milestone and we are grateful to our friends at Abbott and BridgeClimb Sydney, for being part of our celebrations and helping us shine a light on the impact of diabetes on our community.”

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