Sienna awarded a local diabetes hero

Living with diabetes: Sienna Forbes loves animals and is especially fond of her new multi-coloured kitten, Fudge. Photo: Anne Keen
Living with diabetes: Sienna Forbes loves animals and is especially fond of her new multi-coloured kitten, Fudge. Photo: Anne Keen

Gloucester’s Sienna Forbes found out she had type one diabetes when she was three years old.

Her parents were so proud of how the five year old has accepted diabetes as part of her life, her mother Anita Forbes entered Sienna’s story into the DANII Foundation’s World Diabetes Day competition.

“Within six months of being diagnosed, she was giving herself the four needles a day,” Anita said.

On World Diabetes Day, Tuesday, November 14 Sienna and her family travelled to Sydney where she was awarded as a finalist for the Young Courage Award. Sienna’s award was presented by former Home and Away star, Justin Melvey, whose life has been affected by type one diabetes having lost a brother to the disease, as well as having another brother living with it.

The DANII Foundation is a support group for Australians with type one diabetes. Unlike type two diabetes there is no cure; without insulin a type one diabetic will die. As a result, those living with the disease and their carers juggle a daily life of monitoring and assessing blood sugar and all the issues that effect it.

Anita entered Sienna into the competition as a way of reaching out to other families and introducing Sienna to other children in the same situation. The family knows of only one other child in town with diabetes, who is a little bit older than Sienna and there isn’t any type of support group.

Sienna is a little bit shy, but when you get to know her, you can see her personality blossom.

“She doesn’t let her diabetes hold her back,” Anita said.

Founder of the DANII Foundation, Donna Meads-Barlow lost her daughter, Daniella at age 17, as a result of the disease.

“Things most of us take for granted, like food, exercise and stress can have serious impacts on a type one diabetic,” she said.

“For those who manage this disease and live full lives they are true heroes.” 

“Our advocacy led to a $54 million funding program for the lifesaving Continuous Glucose Monitors in April this year for Australians under 21 with type one diabetes,” Ms Meads-Barlow explained.

Sienna wears one of the monitors which sends an alert to a moblie phone when blood sugar is dangerously low or high.

“We are now advocating this technology is available to every Australian with type one diabetes,” Ms Meads-Barlow concluded.