Geelong-based charity Type 1 Foundation celebrates helping families for six years

Geelong-based charity Type 1 Foundation celebrates helping families for six years

Words by Mackenzie Pennycook

Geelong’s Type 1 Foundation is celebrating six years of helping individuals and families suffering with type 1 diabetes.

The Type 1 Foundation is a Geelong-based not-for-profit organisation and this year, they’re celebrating six years of supporting, connecting and empowering all people living with Type 1 Diabetes and their families.

The Type 1 Foundation founder Ange Liston-McCaughley has been at the helm of the heartwarming charity since the sudden diagnosis of her daughter, Lila at age 9, with the aim of raising awareness of Type 1 Diabetes through education in schools, medical practices and the wider community. With the mission to create a world that understands the impact of Type 1 Diabetes on individuals and their families, the foundation began raising money to fund family support events and activities that provide invaluable support and connection to families living with Type1 Diabetes. From diagnosis right throughout the journey, The Type1 Foundation is available to support individuals and their families for no cost.

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Type 1 diabetes has a massive impact on its sufferers and their family members. The autoimmune disease, whereby the pancreas produces little or no insulin which is vital for converting glucose into energy, is mainly diagnosed in those aged between 10 and 14. People with type 1 diabetes need to do the job of the pancreas and replace the insulin via insulin injections or an insulin pump. The insulin acts to reduce the level of glucose in the blood. There’s no cure for type 1 diabetes, and it’s a condition that needs to be closely managed with daily care

In Geelong alone, there are 1,610 individuals who have Type 1 diabetes, with 118,845b sufferers nationwide. Type 1 diabetes is an incredibly costly disorder, that typically costs a patient more than four thousand dollars a year.

The charity organisation had humble beginnings, before eventually launching into the nationwide foundation that has helped thousands of individuals and families and raised over $250,000, with that number continuing to increase by the day.

“The foundation has grown enormously, more than I could ever have imagined in my wildest dreams,” Ange says.

“We started off supporting five families in Geelong and now support in the 1000’s Australia wide. We have expanded to three branches. One in NSW, one about to open in QLD and one in Ballarat Victoria.

“I am truly blessed to work with such an amazing team of volunteers and also people living with Type1 who offer their services. I love supporting this community, we give opportunities to so many living with Type1 and give them work experience and opportunities they may not be able to have. I have a board, multiple committees, branch presidents, and many many volunteers,” she adds.

From sending Care Packages & Hypokits for every newly diagnosed family to running family support events and seminars, The Type 1 Foundation aims on offering support and care for individuals and their families Australia-wide at no cost, with the motivations for the charity stemming from a passion for supporting others and starting a close-knit community. Ange reflects on the feelings of loneliness that came with her daughter’s sudden diagnosis, as well as her desire to create a community of other families in similar situations.

“I was so lonely and didn’t think I would ever find a “club” who really understood me. It was all I wanted. Starting the foundation was always about starting a community that ‘get you.’

“It was about becoming one, the Type1 Mums dinners are my favourite. And the kid’s events I just love seeing the happiness in their eyes and how special they feel having their whole family at a theme park having fun because they have Type1 diabetes. These are the childhood memories I truly hope we are creating for this generation. Type1 Diabetes isn’t all bad.”

The Type 1 Foundation aims to educate people about type 1 diabetes through schools, medical practices and the wider community. However, the main goal over the past six years for The Type 1 Foundation has been preventing the misdiagnosis of adults and children, following Ange’s daughter’s traumatic misdiagnosis which became a life-threatening situation, one that Ange will forever say no family should ever have to experience. This was the main catalyst for forming the Foundation, to create mass community awareness of the symptoms.

“I am probably the most passionate about preventing children and adults from being misdiagnosed. It remains my biggest achievement, changing what people know about the symptoms. I want to stop this from happening,” says Ange.

The Type 1 Foundation is urging individuals who want to celebrate their six-year milestone to buy a beanie from the foundation in order to help raise funds. The organisation is aiming to sell 4000 beanies for Type 1 diabetes by National Diabetes Week in July, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to supporting families.

There are some six-year celebrations on the cards for the Type 1 Foundation, including giveaways and some new and exciting campaigns.

“We have lots of fun campaigns going and some great giveaways. We will also be hoping it’s a good time to buy a beanie to celebrate with us.” Ange says.

Type 1 Foundation continues to encourage support, awareness and connection for suffers from Type 1 diabetes, as well as support for the families affected.

To find out more about Type 1 Foundation, or to buy a beanie in support, head to their website here.