Living with diabetes 50 years on
FIFTY years ago a young boy was about to start high school when without warning he became very ill and lost 6kgs of weight in just one week.
At the time Wayne Willey and his family didn't know what was wrong, but the young lad found he had an thirst that could not be quenched.
He was admitted to the Mater Hospital where he and another boy were in a ward with sick men, one of whom died on the first night he was there.
After investigations he was diagnosed with diabetes.
"Very daunting for a 12-year-old,” Mr Willey said.
Unlike type 2 diabetes, the onset of type 1 cannot be predicted or slowed through treatment or through diet or exercise.
A Diabetes Queensland spokeswoman said it was an autoimmune condition which results in the destruction of insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
"More than 22,000 Queenslanders have type 1 diabetes and must inject synthetic insulin several times a day,” she said.
"The challenge for people injecting insulin is finding the delicate balance between the danger of a coma caused by hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose) on one hand and the deadly risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, caused by hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose), on the other.”
This year is a milestone for Mr Willey 50 years after diagnosis he received a Kellion Victory medal to mark the occasion.
The Kellion medals were presented by Dr Alan Stocks AM of the Kellion Diabetes Foundation.
Mr Willey made special mention of Drs Brian Hirschfeld and Stocks at the award presentation.
"Their understanding, patience and perseverance has no doubt helped to get me to this 50-year milestone,” he said.
"My wife, kids and grandkids are now my incentive to continue to keep my diabetes under control.
"I want to be around to collect my 60th and 70th awards, and I hope to meet some great grandchildren in the future.”