In a month when Kurt Fearnley highlights the tenacity of disabled bodied athletes by winning the New York Marathon and successfully crawling the Kokoda trail, the focus on issues affecting our general health and well being couldn’t be sharper. The wheelchair athlete is a passionate advocate for equality and recognition for disabled people in society.
Determined to conquer her own mountain, eleven year old Nicole Hauesler has chosen the pen rather than the sword to bring attention to the invisible insidious disability which is juvenile diabetes. As Nicole prepares to launch her third book, she is determined this time to share her message.
According to the 2004-05 National Health Survey over 91,000 people had Type 1 diabetes, half of whom have developed the disease before the age of 18. For Nicole, it has been a challenging journey. “Over the years I’ve learnt to get used to it. When I was diagnosed, I was doing an average of 28 needles in one week. That’s 868 in a month of 31 days. Which is a whopping 316,820 in a non-leap year.” She says whilst the significant advances in technology have reduced this physical imposition, it still doesn’t take the disease away. “Not that I would wish for a wheelchair, but sometimes I think about it compared to needles.”
It is the technological breakthrough delivered by a continuous insulin pump which has made a dramatic difference to this eleven year olds lifestyle. “I now have two needles in one week. That’s 62 needles in a month of 31 days. Which is only 730 needles in a non-leap year. Still, I have my delicate times. I ask myself, why me? It is the most common question I ask. I wish it would go away into someone else but then again I don’t because then that someone else would have to suffer through it.”
In the last page of her touching book, which she wrote and illustrated, Nicole has dedicated a page for information about diabetes. She also hopes it raising awareness and sets a challenge for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
“Mateship for Sure” is a love story, a heart starter which takes you through the highs and lows of an amazing friendship. A bit like dealing with the highs and lows of her own world – not a bad message from someone who is only just completing Year Six this year.
To make donations to the Foundation, please go to www.jdrf.org.au