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Generous diabetes donation

A year after Alex Allara’s young son, George, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, a random act of kindness inspired her to make a difference in the lives of families in the same boat.

While at a coffee shop with George, Alex engaged in a conversation with a stranger about his diabetes.

To her surprise, when she went to pay for her breakfast, the person had already covered the cost.

“It was such a beautiful act of kindness,” she said. “I wanted to do the same.”

In October, Alex, along with her siblings and girlfriends, raised around $7,000 by walking from Palm Beach to Manly.

The funds bought 22 smartphones, which were donated to families at the Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes unit at Royal North Shore Hospital.

In the lead-up to Christmas, Alex and George, 6, handed over the phones to appreciative staff.

Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and pumps are digital technologies that assist people living with diabetes in monitoring their glucose levels.

Both technologies interact with mobile phones in distinct ways. However, in many instances, young children don’t have a mobile.

Before CGM, Alex had to do finger pricks on George up to six times a day, including waking him up two to three times a night.  

“CGM gives parents the ability to sleep again because they know there will be an alarm in the middle of the night, if their child’s blood glucose level becomes unsafe,” said Alex.

“You can see the lows coming, you can see the highs coming. They can help you achieve better outcomes.”

Adopting CGM technology, with the help of a phone, was a turning point in our ability to cope.
Alex Allara

“It’s an extra admin thing that I wanted to take away from families in the haze and grief of a new diagnosis.” Alex also added a letter to each phone.

“I wanted to provide hope to newly diagnosed families and let them know they can and will thrive despite the challenges type 1 will bring.” 

Associate Professor Shihab Hameed from the department said the generous donation will make a difference for families.

“By removing a task for parents, they can focus on managing diabetes in their young children, which can often be a stressful time.”

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