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Issued: 15 December 2016
Children managing Juvenile Type 1 Diabetes in the Macleay Valley are being fitted with lifesaving technology this Christmas, thanks to the mammoth fundraising efforts of Mid North Coast Correctional Centre staff and the community.
Nine children with Type 1 diabetes and their families are able to rest easier this holiday season with the knowledge their blood glucose levels are being monitored around-the-clock by high tech devices.
The $3000 Continuous Glucose Monitors prevent the sudden death of diabetes sufferers in their sleep by tracking the children’s blood glucose levels at five-minute intervals and tripping an alarm if those levels become dangerous.
“As a parent of three children with diabetes, these monitors really give us peace of mind knowing that when we put our kids to bed, they’re going to wake up in the morning,” Mid North Coast Correctional Centre officer Scott Welsh explains.
“Dead in bed syndrome is a real fear for families who are dealing with this disease.”
Mr Welsh – the President and founder of the Macleay Valley Coast Diabetes Group – organised a benefit night to raise money to purchase the devices, which are not covered by government subsidies.
Almost 50 of Mr Welsh’s colleagues – including Mid North Coast Correctional Centre Governor Simon Raper – attended the 8th annual Dia-Bete-It Party, raising an impressive $53,000 together with the community.
The 42-year-old says his colleagues were only too happy to help out.
“Corrective Services Industries donated $1,500 and everyone else really got behind it to make it a successful night,” he says.
“To pull together and raise this money for these kids is a great feeling.”
Mr Welsh founded the group in 2010 after his youngest son, Flynn, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes as a toddler.
It came as a shock but not a surprise to the dedicated correctional officer, who had received the same diagnoses with his elder sons Jack and Connor as toddlers, too.
All three are now fitted with the lifesaving technology, which can be monitored on the device receivers or on their parents’ mobile phones in near-to-real time.
It allows Mr Welsh and his wife, Rachael, to monitor their children’s blood glucose levels during the night without waking them, and dramatically cuts back on the need for diabetics to do pin-prick tests.
Mr Welsh plans to hold the fundraiser annually as a social event for Mid North Coast Correctional Centre staff, and hopes to provide adult diabetics with the devices in the future.