New Children’s Diabetes facility brings family hope

Mike and Ruth Pascoe with Faith (9), Josh (4) and Ethan (7). Picture: Martin Kennealey   d446620
Mike and Ruth Pascoe with Faith (9), Josh (4) and Ethan (7). Picture: Martin Kennealey d446620

THE opening of a new children’s diabetes research centre has provided hope to a Woodvale family.

Two of Ruth and Mike Pascoe’s three children, Faith (9) and Ethan (7), have type 1 diabetes and require constant monitoring day and night.

Mrs Pascoe was invited to speak at the opening of the WA Children’s Diabetes Research and Education Centre for Research Excellence in Subiaco last month.

She said the centre’s establishment made her feel hopeful and excited.

“With all the things becoming more available for kids with type 1 diabetes and the advances in technology, to know we’re right in the centre of it is exciting,” she said.

“It’s humbling for us they want to help our family.”

Faith and Ethan rely on an insulin pump instead of injections, but have about 10 finger prick tests to monitor their blood glucose levels on an average day and more if their levels are abnormal.

This continues throughout the night, with the Pascoes unable to enjoy a normal night’s sleep.

“There’s never a moment I’m not thinking about it,” Mrs Pascoe said.

“My mind doesn’t switch off; I don’t stop thinking about how the kids are.”

Though this has been part of the family’s life for the past eight years, it can still become overwhelming.

“Myself and my husband are very optimistic people, we try to look on the brighter side,” she said.

“But my son will still have times when he’s not happy about the whole scenario; there are times when it takes its toll.”

The centre will receive $7 million worth of funding over the next five years from various organisations and will bring together experts in type 1 diabetes, exercise, health economics and education.

Co-director Professor Tim Jones said the team would have greater capacity to run clinical trials with national and international collaborators.

“One of the unique features of our centre will be the high level of consumer involvement in all aspects of our research from highlighting problems they confront at home, to translation of our research into clinical outcomes,” he said.

Mrs Pascoe has nominated to be a part of the centre’s consumer participation group and said she looked forward to being involved.

“Personally, I think it’s exciting, we’re in the heart of it.

“All of the developments and research is just fantastic, it gives us hope in the future for our kids that they can one day live normal lives,” she said.