Thrill seekers to help cure Type 1 diabetes

LOCAL girl Reagan Sims would love nothing more than for her Type 1 diabetes to be cured.

While that might be a while off yet, work is being done to find out more about the condition which cannot currently be prevented, treated or cured.

Children and adults with the disease require a daily regime of three to six insulin injections or continuous infusion of insulin through a pump, as well as six to eight finger-prick blood tests, just to stay alive. 

Reagan found out she had diabetes when she was eight-years-old, and took the diagnosis well.

"It didn't really change that much," she said. "I could still do everything my friends were."

Reagan's mum Suzi said her daughter, who is now 12, dealt with the lifestyle changes she had to make.

"At first Reagan's diet didn't really change because she wasn't eating that badly in the first place," Suzi said.

"She had to give herself up to six injections a day and did it all herself...I think she just went 'I'm going to keep getting on with life'.

"It has all been pretty well accepted with sports, at school and with friends."

Reagan got an insulin pump in June last year which has made it a lot easier for her to manage her diabetes.

She still has to check her blood sugar levels and put in how many carbohydrates she's eating but is only required to do one injection every three days.

"It allows her a bit more freedom," Suzi said.

"Prior to the pump she could only eat at specific times and if she was hungry after that she would have to wait for her body to use up the insulin before she could eat anything else.

"She can now go and get an ice cream with friends and eat when they're eating."

The pump links to Suzi's laptop and is also relayed to an Adelaide-based endocrinologist to help her manage the diabetes.

Suzi said the biggest issue was people not being aware of the differences between Type 1 and Type 2.

"A lot of people get confused," she said.

Type 2 is when the pancreas still makes insulin but the cells of the body slowly become less responsive to it.

With Type 1 the body cannot actually produce its own insulin.

"People hear on the radio 'cure found for diabetes' but that's just referring to Type 2 which can be prevented. Being aware of the differences is a good thing."

People from all over SA are invited to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's tandem skydiving event "Jump to Cure Diabetes" in Adelaide this March.

Suzi said it was a great way to create awareness for the condition.

"It's a good way to raise money for people who want to do that kind of thing," she said.

JDRF Australia chief executive officer Mike Wilson said it would be a "thrilling" experience.

"People with Type 1 diabetes face challenges everyday as they manage this complex disease," he said.

"Jump to Cure Diabetes is one way of showing solidarity with those who face the daily trials of it. 

"Why not face your fears and help us fundraise for research that will one day provide a cure for this disease?"

The tandem skydive starts with a training session and a scenic plane flight of the local area. 

Then, securely attached to a highly experienced instructor, participants will enjoy seconds of exhilarating free fall reaching speeds of up to 240km per hour under a parachute built for two. 

A $100 non-refundable deposit plus a minimum fundraising goal of $1250 is required to participate in the jump. 

The Adelaide "Jump to Cure Diabetes" is on March 15. To register go to or call 1300 363 126.

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