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Wednesday, 20 August 2003
Page: 19109


Mr SCHULTZ (7:45 PM) —Last Friday, I drove to Bowral and met with a lovely, gentle, intelligent 12-year-old girl who was accompanied by her parents, Karen and Professor Alan Hayes. Today I renewed my acquaintance with that young lady. Her name is Sarah Hayes, and she is one of the many young people who took part in the Kids in the House program held at Parliament House today. She suffers from juvenile diabetes. Young Sarah came to visit me in my office before a program function today and she tested me for diabetes. I am pleased to say that I tested exceptionally well and I am very healthy in that regard. In addition to that, she gave me a little book, which I am going to treasure because it eloquently illustrates the sorts of problems that young children with juvenile diabetes face on a day-to-day basis. With the indulgence of the House, I will read from the book, which is entitled `A Day in My Life'. It is only a small document but it talks about her insulin. She says:

I've had diabetes for about a year and eight months. So I have 4 injections a day. My day-time insulin is called Novo Rapid and I use a Novo Pen to administer my dose. My night-time insulin is brand new and I am on trial for it. It is called Glargine or Lantus. There is quite a bit known about it overseas but the Government still wants more information before they subsidise it. I use the Accu-Check finger pricker and it's great because it doesn't hurt. Even though these insulins work really well and don't hurt to the point where I am in tears, I hope I don't have to use them for the whole of my life. I just hope there's a cure in my lifetime.

In the book she goes on to talk about her and her family:

Even though I hate diabetes, it's a lot easier when you have the support of your family. Mum and Dad are sooooo good about it and they are always trying to understand how I feel which is a pretty hard task and I commend them on doing it so wonderfully. I can't imagine how hard it was for Mum and Dad giving me injections in the first few weeks, I'm incredibly proud of my parents and I know they're proud of me.

And finally she talks about her school:

I am a very lucky girl. I go to one of the nicest schools in the whole of Australia. Yes I go to Frensham. The founder of the school, Miss West was a pioneer for women who felt education was necessary for young girls. It is a boarding school and has a very caring atmosphere. It makes it a lot easier to be a child with diabetes surrounded by such compassionate people. I am one of the only diabetics in the school; I think that says it all. I go to a very charming and magnificent school and I think that a country as prosperous as Australia should make it one of there missions to make sure that no child will soon have to put up with diabetes especially when a cure is so close.

Those words were picked up on by my parliamentary colleagues across the broad spectrum of politics today when each one of them attended that luncheon for these 100 lovely young Australians. I am certain that, like me, many of my parliamentary colleagues had a tear in their eye when they listened to the experiences of these young Australians, aged 13 years and younger, and the way they are handling this disease. I was especially a little bit emotional because this lovely 12-year-old, gentle Australian girl reminded me very much of my 13-year-old grandson, whom I lost last year.

I know the government, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health and Ageing are aware of the juvenile diabetes problem in our community, but I hope that we can all better appreciate some of the pain and suffering that the young members of our community are going through, particularly with juvenile diabetes. These young children have explained that pain and suffering to us today in a very compassionate, intelligent and caring way. I know that each and every adult in that room today felt very emotional about what the children were saying about how they were coping with diabetes. (Time expired)