Bailey Mannix was only three years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but he “can recall the day pretty clearly”. He remembers his mum collecting him early from his Central Coast NSW day-care. An ambulance met them on the freeway and they headed towards Gosford Hospital. Bailey was there for 10 days as his family learned how to live with T1D.
Bailey is now 21, and T1D hasn’t slowed him down in the slightest. He began boxing at the age of 14, rising quickly through the ranks of the sport. Bailey was a contender for the Australian Commonwealth Games team, and last month made his debut as a professional fighter. It was a lifelong dream of Bailey’s to become an elite athlete. During his fights, Bailey wears a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and this allows his mum to keep an eye on his blood glucose levels from the crowd via her phone! He also juggles his bouts and training with injecting insulin five times a day and eating at the right times to keep his blood glucose levels steady throughout a session.
Bailey had some big plans to mark his first fight as a pro boxer, and was keen to use his platform to raise awareness and funds for JDRF’s T1D research. Despite being busy with his intensive training schedule in the leadup, he got to work sourcing items to raffle, even using his own funds to purchase Muhammed Ali and Conor McGregor official memorabilia to auction off.
Bailey had another ally in his efforts to fight for a cure. Emma Greentree was also on the fight card that night, for Team Country. Emma fights at the same club as Bailey and also has T1D.
The evening of the ‘City versus Country’ pro-am boxing event went off without a hitch. Bailey had arranged fundraising buckets to circulate and sold supporter merchandise with the JDRF logo. Announcements about JDRF ran regularly throughout the night, between each fight, and every person who left the venue would have walked away knowing more about T1D and JDRF.
In a touching end to the evening, Bailey presented his earnings for his first pro fight to JDRF, with JDRF staff member Sonia on hand to accept gratefully. Combined with fundraising from across the night, Bailey gifted more than $4,000 towards type 1 diabetes research.
By day, Bailey stays close to his love of boxing by helping others on the Central Coast to reach their health and fitness goals. He runs his own business out of Budgewoi, as a certified boxing coach and personal trainer. His personal mission is to show people newly-diagnosed with T1D that anything is possible, and if you have a dream and work hard you will get there, no matter what you are faced with.
If you’re inspired by Bailey, you could create or join a fundraising event to match your time, interests and talents at Team Cure Diabetes.