Often we see parents doing great things in honour of a child with type 1 diabetes, but one little girl is flipping that familiar concept on its head. Ten-year old Jessica (left) from Kellyville, NSW, took inspiration from her mum Kristy’s ongoing battle with type 1 diabetes, tirelessly campaigning for three years to hold a fundraiser for JDRF. Kristy talked to us about her daughter’s determination to make a difference.
From watching her mum face the everyday challenges of type 1 diabetes (T1D), Jessica learned firsthand the difficult and relentless lifestyle. She also became frustrated with the general public’s lack of knowledge about T1D, and wanted to make a better world for those with T1D by encouraging understanding and greater compassion.
Jessica’s school does support charities, but she had over a number of years been unable to have JDRF added to the mix among such a competitive landscape. However, in Jessica’s fifth year, the school involved the students in selecting a charity to support. This was the moment she had been waiting for.
Jessica wasted no time on getting to work.
To get their chosen charity in the running, students had to prepare a presentation on their cause. All students then voted on what they believe to be the most-deserving. With the help of her mum, Jessica pulled together an information-packed presentation. Kristy said that Jessica had only presented to small groups before, so she had to overcome her nerves to present in front of a large group at the school assembly.
“Jessica wanted to get across the message that not all types of diabetes are caused by lifestyle, like type 2. And to inform people that there is also a type 1, which we don’t hear much about. Because of this, people tend to confuse the two types as being the same thing, but actually those that suffer from type 1 have no choice. It’s indiscriminate of lifestyle, and it is for LIFE,” said Kristy.
All that careful preparation paid off and Jessica made a huge impression among her peers and school heads. She delivered her carefully-researched information with conviction and confidence. And, Jessica’s house group voted in JDRF as the charity of choice.
Jessica put in a call to JDRF to get some merchandise, and we were able to supply her with some leftover stock from a previous campaign. Her school house group then rallied a huge team to put on a sausage sizzle fundraiser at the school.
Jessica’s parents also lent their support. “I posted on Facebook to spread the word, and noticed it was getting a great amount of attention. Jessica’s dad said that he would donate $1 for every like the post got – it was already at 150 likes!” said Kristy.
Much to Jessica’s surprise, she raised a total of $1,129.00 for JDRF from the sausage sizzle and Facebook post likes.
“Although this was a very big project for Jessica to take on, she very much enjoyed it, especially all the planning with her friend Sarah, and would definitely do it all over again!”
Jessica’s hope is that her funds will help contribute towards research for type 1 diabetes, so that her mum and friends will not have to go through the pain of daily injections and blood tests just to survive.
To create your own fundraising event based on your interests, time and talent, head to Team Cure Diabetes to learn more or start a personal fundraising page to collect donations.