A little courage goes a long way

SHORTLY after turning two-years-old, young Claremont resident Anna Krastner was diagnosed with type one diabetes.

Unlike type two diabetes, there is no cure for type one – without insulin, a type one diabetic will die.

As a result, those living with the disease and their carers must juggle a daily life of monitoring and assessing blood sugar levels, as well as everything that can affect it.

“Anna now has an insulin pump and every cannula change is traumatic – she is very fearful and there’s lots of crying,” Anna’s mother Nicki Krastner said.

“The courage she has shown in the past three-years of her five-years of life surpasses anything that I have had to experience in my 46-years of existence.

“My Anna needs to know that she is courageous – but she doesn’t, no matter what I say to her.”

That is why Ms Krastner nominated Anna for the DANII Foundation’s Child of Courage Awards, where she was selected as a finalist in the Justin Melvey “Little Courage” category.

The DANII Foundation is Australia’s leading support group for Australians with type one diabetes.

The awards, held on 14 November in recognition of World Diabetes Day, saw two children aged between three and 15-years receive the Justin Melvey award and two young adults aged between 16 and 30-years receive the Jack Newton award for their tremendous courage in dealing with the disease.

“Things most of us take for granted, like food, exercise and stress, can have serious impacts on a type one diabetic,” DANII Foundation founder Donna Meades-Barlow said.

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

Ms Krastner said events such as this were important for raising awareness in the community about the differences between type one and type two diabetes.

She said every child that has type one diabetes deserved an award.

“Anna is courageous because she is living this life that she is forced to live,” she said.

“But then, so is every single child that has type one diabetes.

“They are all courageous beyond what most children are forced to experience day after relentless day, battling a hell of a disease that we all hope will be cured one day in our children’s lifetime.”

Despite her struggles, Ms Krastner said Anna has made the momentous achievement of starting kindergarten.

“This has been a challenge for us and big learning curve for the school and her teachers, who have all done an amazing job so far,” she said.

“Anna has been truly amazing and has embraced school with such gusto and enthusiasm, even though she finds her diabetes restricting.”

Ms Krastner set up a Facebook page – titled ‘This Fairy wants to Fly – living with childhood type one diabetes’ – to educate the community on type one diabetes.

For more information about the DANII Foundation, visit http://danii.org.au.

Caption: Five-year-old Anna Krastner, type one diabetic from Claremont, was a finalist at the 2017 DANII Foundation‘s Child of Courage Awards.