Waiting for a diabetes cure

Gina Nagle was just three years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. At the time she was in hospital, unconscious and had been given up for dead by her doctors. Luckily her mother hadn't given up - she fought for a diagnosis and finally found a doctor who had hope. Gina was, at that time, the youngest person in Australia to be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

When she was old enough to understand she remembers being told about how serious her disease was and how careful she had to be. Gina explains, "I remember being shown pictures of people who had lost part of their feet or who had gangrene and being told of the other gruesome side effects. That is something that you don't forget, it has stayed with me all this time." Luckily Gina has made it for more than 50 years without any major complications as a result of her disease, but the fear is always something in the back of her mind.

Gina explains the impact the disease has on her day to day life "The first and last thing I do every day is check my blood sugar levels. I have to wake up at the same time every day. I rely on my friends and family to tell me when something is wrong - when my blood sugar levels run too low I start to slur my words and don't make sense, but it's not something I notice. It is common for someone with Type 1 diabetes to appear drunk - people like to stare and wrongly assume there is something wrong with you mentally."

Gina explains, "I have been waiting all my life for a cure for Type 1 diabetes. A life without it would mean a life that is not restricted by when I have to eat meals, take my insulin and even how long I can go away for without planning ahead and packing my insulin and syringes" With no children to look after Gina has decided to leave her estate to ANU in her will. The gift will go towards research into treatments and cures for Type 1 diabetes. "To me, it is my absolute number one priority - to help find a cure for Type 1 diabetes. I am leaving a bequest to JCSMR because I know it will make a world of difference - to be able to be sure that your thoughts and actions are your own and not dependent on your blood sugar levels would be life changing" says Gina.

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