“Would you like to go to a masquerade ball?” My good friend and fellow dietitian had a spare ticket for the Juvenile Diabetes fund-raising ball at the Sydney Town Hall. Of course I wanted to go! Dressed in our sparkly frocks we teetered up the red carpet which rolled down the steps onto the pavement. I flashed my wedding ring around and gave an extra friendly smile to the waiter serving champagne, just to make sure everyone knew we weren’t THAT type of couple.
The Glycemic Index Foundation had kindly invited my friend ‘and partner’ to sit at their table. It was a bitter-sweet evening. The masks were fun, the bands great, the food delicious, the wine abundant and the conversation riveting. But we were there because of a terrible disease that has no cure. Every dietitian knows the diabetic diet. What we don’t know is how it feels to live with diabetes. I thought I knew but as I listened to the mother of a four year old with diabetes speak about birthday parties, finger pricks five times a day, not being able to wear a bikini because of the insulin needle scars and having to wake up each night to check that her precious daughter hasn’t slipped into a coma I realised I knew nothing.
This month (May) in Australia is Jelly Baby month – the cute name for a not-so-cute disease. If you see a donation box in a chemist or at the Woolworths’ check-out drop in a few dollars, and as you munch that cake or chocolate bar spare a thought or prayer for the kids who can’t.