For Daniel Webb, T1D is a family affair. The Tasmanian was diagnosed with T1D aged six and his younger sister Claire was diagnosed a few years later at 11. Last year the Webbs were struck a third blow when 26-year-old Emma was diagnosed.
“A few months ago, Emma, who exercises a lot, was feeling a bit strange during her runs and losing energy. It sounded to me like low blood sugar. I gave her one of my old glucometers so she could test her blood glucose levels now and then.”
This forethought ended up potentially saving his sister’s life.
“She had been feeling really irritable and thirsty for a couple of days, so she tested her blood glucose levels…”
The meter showed 28. She washed her hands and tested again. It was still 28. Emma, who now lives in Melbourne, headed to hospital where the life-changing news was confirmed. She was able to go home after a few hours, her early diagnosis preventing her from needing to be admitted.
Daniel welcomed Emma back to Tasmania in November when she joined him on the remainder of his mission to climb five mountains for T1D research. They headed to the remote Walls of Jerusalem National Park and tackled the Twin Spires, the Mountains of Jupiter, Cathedral Mountain and Mount Ragoona. That’s one mountain for every $1,000 raised.
For years, Daniel has been attending JDRF One Walks, while also completing his own long-distance walks to raise funds for JDRF. So far, he’s covered hundreds of kilometres of Tasmanian coastline. His secret to success is the biscuits he bakes for each person who donates.
“Some people get more excited about the biscuits than the actual challenge I’m doing”, Daniel jokes.
Daniel credits his amazing group of family and friends for getting behind him each year in whatever challenge he’s undertaking. He believes it really makes a difference that he speaks with honesty about the struggles that people with T1D face when he asks for donations on social media.
“If you look through the donations on my page, they aren’t from large corporates or anything. It’s made up of many individual donations.”
“A good friend of mine, Elaine, used to make soy candles and every sale made in November would have a percentage of profits go towards my walks. This year, she has had some tights and t-shirts made and is doing the same thing.”
Daniel says he wouldn’t be doing the fundraising if it was just for his own T1D. He has supported T1D kids’ camps in Tasmania for many years and took his inspiration from the amazing people he met.
“People often don’t notice the struggles that people with diabetes face every day as we don’t look sick. They don’t understand how bad the feelings are to have high or low blood glucose levels.”
To Daniel, success will be when research can uncover a cure and lessen the impact on the lives of everyone with the disease.
Until then, he won’t be defined by his T1D.
“There’s actually a song I like, by Cloud Nothings, which sums it up. The lyrics go, ‘I’m not you. You’re a part of me.’”