Publication date: Thursday, 15 December 2016
Thanks to the extraordinary fundraising efforts of staff from the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre, nine Macleay Valley children – and their families – will rest easier this Christmas knowing their blood sugar is being monitored around the clock by high-tech devices.
By tracking a child's blood glucose continuously at five-minute intervals, the $3,000 Continuous Glucose Monitors help prevent 'Dead in Bed Syndrome', the sudden death of diabetes sufferers in their sleep.
Correctional Centre officer Scott Welsh is the father of three children with type 1 diabetes and he knows first-hand the peace of mind that having a blood glucose monitor fitted brings. "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," Mr Welsh said.
For Scott Welsh and his wife Rachael, the monitors mean they can monitor their three children's blood glucose levels at night without waking them up. Scott and Rachael can also remotely check the kids' blood sugar levels on their mobile phones – or the devices' receivers – in near-real time.
Mr Welsh is the founder and president of the Macleay Valley Coast Diabetes Group and he organised a benefit night to raise money to purchase the nine monitors, which are not covered by government subsidies.
About 50 of Mr Welsh's colleagues, including the Correctional Centre Governor Simon Raper, attended the eighth annual Dia-Bete-It party and raised an impressive $53,000 with the local community. Corrective Services Industries donated $1,500 and Mr Welsh said all his colleagues were only too happy to help out. "To pull together and raise this money for these kids is a great feeling," said Mr Welsh.
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.
Above: the receiver unit of a Continuous Glucose Monitor that reports the device wearer's blood sugar level at five-minute intervals, around the clock.