As the exhausted family settled back at home after a chaotic five days in hospital, Sharon noticed her daughter, Tarah, growing quiet and withdrawn. “Mum, I don’t know what a hypo feels like,” Tarah said.
They all waited, and low and behold a day later, Tarah had her first hypo. The doctors had given the family a run down on what to do during a hypo. Sharon remembers taking in everything the specialists told her. But nothing really prepares you for the actual moment.
“Anyway, we dealt with it and were able to move forward,” said Sharon.
Tarah had been complaining of a stomach aches on and off for almost 12 months before her diagnosis with type 1 diabetes (T1D). “The night before Tarah’s 7th birthday disco party we had an appointment with our GP who ran some tests. We returned home and got on with our party preparations, taste testing slushies, testing the disco lights and dancing,” remembers Sharon, “On reflection, it was a very special night, one we will always remember, as the next day our world would be turned upside down.”
“The next morning, we got a call from our doctor telling us to bring Tarah in immediately. Surprisingly, I blocked out any possibility that anything could be wrong; I had my ‘mum blinkers’ on and went into auto pilot.”
“None of us really understood what was happening in those first few moments, I was convinced that the doctors had it wrong. I kept thinking: it must be a virus; Tarah is so healthy; it’s not in our family. It just shows how little I knew at the time. ”
In hospital, Sharon remembers scheduling and rescheduling Tarah’s birthday party. She wanted Tarah to focus on her party and not what was happening around her. “It wasn’t until my husband Barry took a photo of Tarah holding her Ruby bear (from JDRF), when she looked up at us and said, ‘Am I going to die?’”
“I couldn’t believe I had missed it. Between the information overload, the party planning, the phone calls; I had missed what my daughter needed most. Everything changed from that moment on, it finally clicked for us that our lives had changed forever.”
Tarah’s best friend at school has a sister with T1D. It was this family that told them about the JDRF One Walk. “Tarah was discharged from hospital three days before the Walk, so at that stage, it was still too soon for us, but a year later we attended our first Walk.”
Tarah, Sharon and family are now about to take on their third Walk as the ‘Hungry, Hungry Hypos’. The name is care of Barry! Once Sharon signed up to One Walk and started spreading the word, it was a surprise how many people she actually knew who were connected with T1D.
Walk day is a fun day for Sharon and her family and friends. It is a day to celebrate, at the end of their big fundraising drive. Tarah’s most important task of the day is to beat everyone from her team around Albert Park Lake with her mates.
Usually Tarah is a pretty shy kid, but the first year of the Walk she collected her certificate on stage with pride, and last year proudly wore her orange cap all day. “I can’t believe how many orange hats there are!” she said with surprise.
All of Tarah’s friends come along to the day, including one of her teachers, who walks with the family every year.
“We walk for Tarah, but we also walk for ourselves, for our family, friends and support crew. The Hungry, Hungry Hypo’s are all about fundraising, but also awareness and education.”
In September, the family are embarking on our first overseas trip since Tarah’s diagnosis, to Singapore. It’s all very exciting, but like any other type 1 mum, it comes with a bittersweet element for Sharon: “I already know where the nearest hospital is and where to buy emergency insulin!”
Want to donate or Walk?
Last year, the Hungry, Hungry Hypos were one of Victoria’s top fundraising teams! Support them this year at their fundraising page, or check out One Walks in your local area here and get walking!