Fundraising run for daughter with Type 1 Diabetes
Kirsten Rosser never expected her fitness regime to take the twists and turns it has, but her 9-year-old daughter's Type 1 diabetes diagnosis has spurred her to train for the Queenstown marathon to raise awareness.
Rosser said her daughter was able to inject herself with the insulin her body needed to maintain a healthy blood-sugar level only eight weeks after diagnosis.
"She's handled it better than I have," Rosser said.
"She also has coeliac disease, which is very common together with Type 1 diabetes."
Rosser started a fundraising page last week, with all money raised going to Diabetes Youth Canterbury, a charity that runs camps and events for children with Type 1 diabetes.
"Kate is going to their camp in January and she is really looking forward to it, it'll be her first one."
Like other parents of children with chronic illnesses, Rosser said finding a support network of parents and children going through the same issues was one of the benefits of being part of Diabetes Youth Canterbury.
"They're the only people who really understand it, so it's been invaluable to have friends who are mothers of Type 1 diabetes children, who completely understand all the issues that come up."
Often confused with Type 2 diabetes, generally caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices, Type 1 diabetes is an incurable auto-immune disease that affects thousands of children around New Zealand.
"Raising awareness of the difference is a big part of what I want to do as well," Rosser said.
"Just the other day, people at school were saying to my daughter, 'Oh you must drink too much sugar, you have diabetes'.
"A lot of people don't understand that Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with sugar, it's an auto-immune disorder and it's completely different to Type 2 diabetes."
Diabetes Youth Canterbury president Christine Murray said financial support for the charity came solely from grants and donations.
"There isn't a lot of awareness about Type 1 Diabetes, so we get funding from wherever we can get it really," Murray said.
"People tend to focus on Type 2, which is more about lifestyle."
She said their camps are designed to be fun while providing education about how to deal with the condition.
"Some of them are injecting themselves with insulin for the first time, especially the younger ones where their parents have been the ones injecting them.
"Once they see peers and older kids doing it, it makes it easier for them."
Diabetes Youth Canterbury also run events to get the kids used to coping with their condition in various circumstances.
"We run a ski camp, which people see as a luxury, but really it's about learning how to cope with Type 1 diabetes in extreme conditions."
If you would like to donate to Kirsten Rosser's Givealittle page, go to: https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/runningfordyc/