Josh Kizer and Ethan Galpin, both 13, suffer from type 1 diabetes and will walk for awareness to raise money for a cure at Gladstone’s first Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraiser this month.
Josh Kizer and Ethan Galpin, both 13, suffer from type 1 diabetes and will walk for awareness to raise money for a cure at Gladstone’s first Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraiser this month. Mike Richards

Teens help slay stigma around type 1 diabetes

ROBBIE and Jon Kizer wake up twice every night to make sure their son Josh does not go into a coma.

Josh's school friend Ethan Galpin has a similar routine. The two 13-year-olds have type 1 diabetes.

"It's really not that well known of a disease," Josh said.

"People get type 1 and type 2 mixed up. They're totally different."

Their parents have also witnessed the misunderstanding and stigma around the auto-immune disease.

"People assume it's caused by lifestyle. It's an auto immune disease and these kids did not do anything to get it," Josh's mum Robbie said.

The daily routine of checking blood sugar levels, pricking fingers and injecting insulin is part of the norm, but they still worry about the toll the disease is yet to take on them.

Taking high school exams could prove to be a problem if they experience a high or a low, and getting a driver's licence is equally as difficult.

Ethan has lived with the condition since he was three and said a cure would be better than anything else in the world.

"We need to keep raising money because it all goes to research," he said.

The Tannum Sands State High School students will take part in Gladstone's first Walk to Cure Diabetes, a fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

The Walk to Cure Diabetes fundraiser will be held on November 15 at 3pm at Lions Park.

It is a 2.4km walk and all funds are donated to the foundation.



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