Diabetes North Otago urges youth to get involved

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Diabetes North Otago is encouraging young people with diabetes to get more involved with the organisation _ and each other.
A coffee group held last month attracted just nine of the organisation’s 64 youth members.
Diabetes North Otago president Trish Hinton said the organisation was keen to see more youth and children actively involved.
“The idea is that we are wanting to set things up so the youth and young ones can get together and tell us what they want to do. “We’re looking more at the social side, because a lot don’t know each other.
“Having peer support and talking about what is happening or doing something together is important.”Mrs Hinton was concerned young people and children with diabetes were reluctant to speak up about their condition.
“Locally, the disadvantage here is that we don’t know all of the children in the North Otago area that have type 1 diabetes. There are possibly children that have type 2 diabetes here we don’t know about, too.”Diabetes North Otago field officer Jan Nath said funding secured last year had been put aside to support youth and children with diabetes in North Otago and decisions about how to use that needed to be made quickly.
She said there tended to be less support for children, youth and people aged between 18 and 35 with diabetes, especially in areas such as North Otago.
One person who knows better than anyone the importance of speaking out and talking to peers about diabetes is 15-year-old Lance Ruehorn.
Lance, a pupil at Waitaki Boys’ High School, was 9 when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
He was living in Southland at the time and, like other people he has encountered, he struggled to talk about his condition.
“I wouldn’t test myself or do insulin in public,” he said.
“I would face the complications of being high [in blood sugar] and staying high and not coming down. There [in Southland], I had a trained staff member to do it at my school. When I moved to Oamaru, I was doing it myself and they would sign a piece of paper to say I’d done it.
“When I was 13, I was going through a phase when I wasn’t doing insulin. I would wake up sick and I would end up in hospital the next day. That’s when I needed the help.”Mrs Nath estimated there were between 1500 and 2000 people in North Otago with diabetes.
Information on support services for diabetes locally can be found on the “People with Diabetes North Otago” Facebook page or by emailing diabetesnorthotago@xtra.co.nz