House debates

Thursday, 18 October 2018



4:30 pm

Photo of Emma HusarEmma Husar (Lindsay, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to talk about JDRF being at the forefront of investigating type 1 diabetes research. They have been a great advocate in finding a cure and promoting prevention and treatment for those with type 1 diabetes. In my electorate of Lindsay, 1,129 people live with type 1 diabetes, and JDRF does great work advocating on behalf of those people and 120,000 other type 1 diabetics across Australia each and every day. This number, sadly, keeps growing, and that's why it's vital to find a cure for this autoimmune disease.

I'm very proud to see the progress made under the Australian Type 1 Diabetes Clinical Research Network, developed from an initial $5 million investment by the then Labor government in 2010. The funding for the CRN will be fully expended by June 2019. The CRN is an incredible tool for Australian scientists to lead the way on medical research for type 1 diabetes. Its continued impact is vital to paving a way for a cure. That's why the JDRF is advocating for phase 3 of the network, which will ensure enduring change for type 1 diabetics in Lindsay and also across the country.

In my electorate, this was brought to my attention by the wonderful Emma Hogan. I met Emma and her mum, Judy, for the first time in 2014. She's a young, proud JDRF advocate, and her dedication has inspired me to be a firm supporter of finding a cure and improving the lives of all type 1 diabetics and their families. Emma was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009, when she was just seven years old. She's now 16 and learning how to drive and do those other things teenagers like to terrorise us with. She can never, though, be carefree or laid back like my 16-year-old daughter, because her mind is always racing, asking the questions: 'What are my sugar levels at?' 'Have I calculated enough insulin to eat my lunch?' Twenty thousand finger pricks over her lifetime, and Emma is still no closer to being able to let go and relax like most teenagers should be able to.

Life is, though, getting easier for type 1 diabetics, and it's only through the work of advocates like Emma and her peers that that can happen. We now have insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring—or CGMs, as they like to call them—and better day-to-day technology that has made and will continue to make their lives easier. But there is no rest until we find a cure for this lifelong disease.

JDRF needs $50 million to fund the next phase of the clinical research network to expand its research, start more clinical trials and ultimately find a cure that all of us are so desperate to have. Without the funding, the CRN will be unable to keep up their incredible work across the 65 institutions and 250 researchers that are trying to progress this research to the next vital stage, which will unlock a cure and new treatments for type 1 diabetics. A new funding commitment is needed now because in-depth and comprehensive research, as we know, holds the key to most things.

But JDRF is more than just funding for research. It fosters a sense of community for the type 1 diabetic sufferers and their families through the programs such as the JDRF Peer Support Program, an incredible service run by volunteers that connects those affected by type 1 diabetes. It gives support, guidance and hope to those affected that they are not alone in the day-to-day struggles of understanding and managing their conditions.

Most important, though, are the friendships and the hopes shared at incredible events like the JDRF One Walk. I was pleased to be at the one that was hosted last year. I didn't get to participate in the walk, because I took my kids and one of them ended up passing out and was quite unwell. But it was great to be there, and the wave of support was incredible. But this year I don't have to travel far and go into Homebush for the walk, because Emma Hogan and her mum, Judy, are hosting the first-ever JDRF One Walk in Penrith this Sunday. I'll be very proud to support Emma and the amazing work she has done, and to be in attendance at Jamison Park with hundreds of others from around our electorate to see the incredible work they've put into bringing the type 1 community together and making the rest of our community more aware of their journeys.

I just want to say thank you to Emma and Judy for their long-term dedication and commitment to turning type 1 into type none. The JDRF One Walk will bring together the core of JDRF's message: funding for medical research and fostering community. Together we'll raise money for research while enjoying what is truly great about the JDRF community. I'll be there this Sunday and I will be walking. I will be ready for a fun day, with lunch, kids' activities and all the things that go into recognising the incredible work that Emma and the JDRF team have done.