Giselle Nelson didn’t tell her friends, or her teachers, why she skipped school on Tuesday. Instead, she wanted to hard launch the news she’d met Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on social media.
With her parliament pass on her hip next to her continuous glucose monitoring device, the Year 8 student walked into his office ready to chat with him about all things type 1 diabetes (T1D).
“I was just really excited to meet him and share with him. He was really nice,” she said.
Giselle, a student at Burwood Girls’ High School and advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), was diagnosed with T1D when she was nine years old and was fitted with a CGM and insulin pump not long after.
She now uses hybrid closed looping, where the technologies speak to each other to manage levels and dose insulin more accurately.
On Tuesday, Giselle MCed a JDRF and The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust event announcing $3m in joint funding for researchers to answer the unknowns about how T1D develops.
Giselle’s mother, Celine Guillot described her daughter as fearless as she bonded with the Prime Minister about their shared love for Sydney’s inner west and gymnastics.
Mr Albanese also gave the pair a private tour of his Prime Ministerial courtyard, telling the mother-daughter pairing that coming to work through it everyday reminds him “how privileged he is”.
“It’s a physical thing, you know, because I grew up just me and my mum in Camperdown,” he said.
Ms Guillot empathised immediately: “It’s just the two of us,” she said.
“We are here to talk about T1D, and you know, the funding, it’s life changing. So this is my passion and it’s so important. I’m so grateful,” she said.
Support for the JDRF and Helmsley’s research in collaboration with Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity (ENDIA) was made possible through a Commonwealth grant under the Medical Research Future Fund.
Since its inception, ENDIA has recruited almost 1,500 participants who have an immediate family member with T1D, monitoring them from as early as pregnancy.
Over 200,000 unique biological samples, such as blood, immune cells, breast milk, nasal swabs, stool, and urine samples, along with 16 million clinical data, have been collected.
Select researchers within Australia and around the world will now have the opportunity to collaborate with ENDIA and access these resources as they investigate novel concepts about how T1D develops.
Health Minister Mark Butler said the government had seen first hand the benefits of JDRF’s research programs.
“I’m proud to see that a decade of government investment has put Australia on the map for leading type 1 diabetes prevention,” he said.
“Working with JDRF, we want to make type 1 diabetes, type none.”
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