The sky’s still the limit

Michelle (10), Louise (9) and James (12) with mother Helen Fernihough. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d422231
Michelle (10), Louise (9) and James (12) with mother Helen Fernihough. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d422231

The Sea Scouts member, State Taekwondo champion, piano and guitar enthusiast encouraged anyone with the genetic condition to look past any preconceived limitations of type 1 and continue to try new things, tailoring treatment to lifestyle, not the other way around.

James’ mother Helen said she had always been impressed by her son’s attitude towards type 1 diabetes.

‘I’ve never encountered any thought or comment saying ‘no I won’t go, I won’t do that because it will be too difficult’,’ Ms Fernihough said.

Rebecca Johnson from the Telethon Juvenile Diabetes Family Centre in Osborne Park said James’ attitude to type 1 diabetes exemplified what the new centre promotes.

‘There is no one-size-fits-all with type 1 diabetes, it’s about finding an approach and a strategy that fits you and your lifestyle,’ she said.

‘In order to do that people need to build confidence in dosing requirements, things they can do in terms of physical activity, do some experiments, ask lots of questions and inform themselves and it’s only that process that will slowly build up a picture of what your body will do and react in certain situations.’

Ms Fernihough said James dreamt of being involved in the aviation industry.

‘He always wanted to be a jet fighter pilot, he said ‘I can just fly all my life’.’

‘When he was diagnosed, that meant he can’t become a pilot, which shook him a bit but now he wants to be an aeronautical engineer and build and design planes instead.

‘He’s had to modify his dreams a little bit.’

She said James was always supported by his two sisters Michelle and Louise.

‘Siblings can play such a positive role in partnering with the diabetic sibling, Michelle for instance looks out for James, she will tell me when he acts a bit weirdly to check him if he’s going low.

‘They won’t eat unhealthy foods because James doesn’t, so it promotes a healthy lifestyle for siblings.

‘There’s no real restriction on how much he can eat or what time or how frequently, we just change his treatment plan to suit.’