JDRF - Peer Support Program

My Peer Support Mentor Gives Me Hope

When three-year-old Harrison was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in January 2014, his mum Angela didn't know where to go for support.

"Looking back, I didn't realise what a whirlwind the week of diagnosis was. From doctor's visits, an ambulance to the hospital, and all the education that goes with having T1D, it was all a blur. While I had some understanding of diabetes having had gestational diabetes during my pregnancies and had experience injecting insulin, I still found myself calling the doctor every day, trying to figure everything out".

About a month after Harrison was diagnosed, Angela realised that T1D was forever. "I had been so caught up in living day-to-day and getting through each day that I hadn't stopped to think about the future and what Harrison's future with T1D would look like." She needed to speak to someone who knew what they were going through.

After searching online, she found the JDRF Peer Support Program. Angela was put in touch with a volunteer Amanda whose son Isaac was a similar age to Harrison, and could relate to the questions and issues that Angela was facing every day.

Angela says, "Being able to touch base with Amanda whenever I needed support was great. Knowing that Amanda would always to be able to pick up the phone or reply to a text made me feel like I wasn't alone on this diabetes journey. We got to know each other well, and realised that we had a lot in common, even without the T1D in our lives."

"It was a real relief to talk to someone who knew what we were going through. I hadn't met anyone else living with T1D before Amanda and I started talking, so it was really useful. We talk about everything and anything – from advice on letting Harrison go to kindergarten, to how to control my fears and anxiety about leaving him with someone else. Things I couldn't necessarily talk to the doctor about. She gives me hope about Harrison's future, and provides that light at the end of the tunnel."

"I definitely recommend that people living with T1D contact JDRF and join the Peer Support Program. My connection with my mentor Amanda, and our conversations, lets me know that I'm not alone, and that there are other people out there living well with T1D.