With four of the five people in her family diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it takes Olivia van Dyk just that little bit more organisation and more regular routines to make the day run smoothly.
“I was diagnosed when I was 11 years old. I always knew that I would probably pass my T1D onto a child, but I never thought that all three of my children would end up with it.”
“My eldest Celeste, now 15, was the first to be diagnosed when she was 11 when she was very sick with a virus. A week later, Bailey, now 12, was also diagnosed after he had been sick with the same virus as Celeste.”
With two of her three children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, they sent samples of the whole family’s blood overseas for testing, which showed an elevated genetic chance of developing type 1 diabetes. Sure enough, three years after Celeste and Bailey were diagnosed, Mya was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“The hardest part about living with type 1 diabetes is when the kids want to go on camps or sleepovers. Trying to explain to others how to prepare and care for the kids in case they have a hypo…it’s frustrating and scary to think you’re leaving your kids with someone who might not know how to handle a challenging situation.”
“Despite the frustrations along the way, the kids handle it well. Celeste and Bailey are both dirtbike riders. Celeste is studying hard to become a nurse. Mya enjoys gymnastics. Most importantly, they all look out for each other – keeping an eye on lows and highs.”
Managing type 1 diabetes can be a big responsibility for younger children.
“I do think that having to learn how to manage type 1 diabetes, giving themselves injections and everything else involved with it, has made the kids grow up a bit faster. I just hope that in the future, there will be a cure for the disease, or least a tablet or something that will remove the pain of injections. Anything that stops them from needing to do so many needles and blood testing would be amazing.”
Want to help deliver a brighter future for Olivia and her kids? Donate to JDRF today to help fund research into better treatments, therapies, and a cure for type 1 diabetes: www.jdrf.org.au/donate.