One young family is hoping to develop an idea to help families in the Clutha district.
Balclutha youngster Tom Bensley was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes — a condition causing the level of glucose in blood to become too high. As a 6-year-old in his prime — playing sports, being a happy, active and playful child — the diagnosis was a ‘‘huge shock’’ to Tom and his parents.
Tom and his parents, Kelly and James, have had to adapt to a lifestyle of carb-counting, finger-pricking and insulin injections.
Tom’s mother Kelly explained the difficulties behind Tom’s condition and awareness around the district.
‘‘It’s been something we’ve managed to slowly get our heads around, but it’s super scary navigating through something we’d never have expected to go through,’’ Mrs Bensley said.
‘‘We’ve found it to be difficult, especially night times because you never know what’s happening.
‘‘There have been countless nights where I’ve gone in to check Tom over and over again because I’m worried about his glucose levels.’’
The family have been fundraising for Tom, as they have lived on a single income due to Mrs Bensley being on maternity leave.
‘‘Pharmac currently funds insulin pumps but not the associated equipment needed to operate the pump — most importantly the continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) that need replacing every seven days,’’ Mrs Bensley said.
‘‘We just want to make sure Tom is OK.’’
Once the family was on their feet she was aiming to create a district-wide support and awareness group for diabetes which could assist others who have children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
‘‘Tom is a very active kid and
‘I know how amazing our area is with putting heads together and creating positive changes for families, and I want us to help people who are in the same boat as us and can relate. , loves his sports, especially soccer, tough rugby, cricket with dad and hockey.
‘‘He has been a trooper through his journey so far and he loves his soft toys, Lenny and Jerry, he was given to cope with the bad nights,’’ Mrs Bensley said.
‘‘I want to make sure all families have the connections for their children to grow up normally and in a way they won’t be deferred from doing what they love and living their life to the best they possibly can.’’
‘‘I know how amazing our area is with putting heads together and creating positive changes for families, and I want us to help people who are in the same boat as us and can relate.’’
The family has a Givealittle page where people can give by searching Tom’s name.