A family’s ongoing mission for a cure for young Ethan

LIFELONG CONDITION: Ethan Galpin, 14, has type 1 diabetes.
LIFELONG CONDITION: Ethan Galpin, 14, has type 1 diabetes. Paul Braven

Ethan Galpin And His Mum Tammy. Ethan Is Asking The Questions...

Q1. What is your name and where are you from?

Tammy Galpin, I was born in Nelson Bay.

Q2. Is it true your son has type 1 diabetes?

Yes. Ethan was diagnosed in January at age three. He was very sick over the Christmas period. Our GP doctor originally diagnosed Ethan with a virus just before Christmas. Over a period of two weeks Ethan lost a third of his body weight and was very sick. We were flown by the Royal Flying Doctors to the Adelaide Children's hospital where Ethan was put into intensive care and diagnosed with DKA and type 1 diabetes.

Q3. How bad was it when you found out your son had type 1 diabetes?

It was horrible. But my lack of understand was only just beginning. I spent two weeks in the Children's Hospital with Ethan when diagnosed. I had to learn to give injections and how to count carbohydrates, learn that what works today, will not work tomorrow. Imagine you are the parent of a three-year-old and you had to give them medicine every night and day And if you get the dose wrong you could kill them; just a little bit wrong and they are dead. Now imagine for a moment that the dose you gave them yesterday that worked, doesn't work today for some reason. Now imagine that you have to worry about this every day for the rest of your child's life.

Q4. How does this affect how you and your son live?

When Ethan was first diagnosed and for the first five years after, we had a very regimented lifestyle. Ethan would have four injections a day. If he was sick or wouldn't eat, we would end up in hospital under specialised care. About six years ago Ethan got his first insulin pump. He wears this 24/7 and it is constantly administering insulin into his body via cannula.

Q5. How are you raising awareness?

Ethan is the Ambassador for Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund and I am an advocate. Ethan and I have met numerous politicians including prime ministers. He has explained what living with type 1 is really like and has helped secure funding for research into a cure.

Topics:  diabetes juvenile diabetes medical research

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