Sixteen year old Lachlan has such a busy life that if we listed all his hobbies and interests here, we’d have no room for anything else. Alongside debating, art and technology, he’s an accomplished sportsman on field and in pool. He also does a little kite-surfing in his spare time.
There’s one other interest that he always makes time for, and that’s clinical research into type 1 diabetes. Lachie has had T1D since he was three years old.
His mum Shelley says being part of clinical research gives him a lift.
“Recently I picked him from a day-long trial session, and he’d been plugged into two cannulas for six or seven hours, being monitored while doing various tasks. He absolutely bounced out of the hospital, with a spring in his step.”
Lachie’s got a healthy sense of balance when it comes to T1D. “He says to me, mum, there are people worse off than me. But he was diagnosed so young that this life is all he really knows.”
Shelley reflects on the early days after diagnosis. “I can’t say that it was easy. I remember thinking, ‘My children are perfect, how could this happen to me?’ But I’ve done a lot of reading over the years; I now understand more about the complexity of the environmental factors at play in T1D, and I’m cautiously excited by the technology we’re now seeing.”
As a family we maintain a positive attitude about T1D, for Lachie. We try to bear some of the burden by doing overnight testing, and I always let him make his own food choices. He’s actually got no hang-ups about it whatsoever, he tests whenever he needs, wherever he is.
Lachie now has a bit of a reputation for clinical research at the hospital that manages his T1D, in a good way. Shelley says with modest pride, “He always says yes. He ended up on TV with Professor Tim Jones, and was pleased as punch to have the chance to tell so many people at once about trials.”
Ultimately for the whole family, there is one big reason to be part of clinical trials.
“It’s about the cure. Lachie wants to help to find it, and he also knows it can be hard to get people trials.”
But happily, that’s not the only benefit to participating in clinical trials.
“I also think being part of clinical trials is really good for children and young people because it allows them to become more involved with their diabetes; they feel like they own their disease a bit more. They are exposed to different healthcare professionals, who help them manage in different ways and tell they how much they are helping others, helping the research.”
“So Lachie’s feeling good because he’s helping other people and I’m feeling good because he’s learning to manage his condition better.”
Lachie is part of the T1D Game Changer community of like-minded people committed to doing their part to achieve the next T1D breakthrough. Find out more about becoming a T1D Game Changer here, and we’ll keep you updated with clinical trial news.