HAVING access to subsidised glucose monitoring equipment this year will be life-changing for little Baylee Davies and her parents, Jarrad and Jacinta.
At just four-weeks-old, her life was hanging in the balance as she was taken to the Port Pirie Hospital and found to have a blood glucose level of 52. She was rushed to the Women’s and Children’s Hospital where she remained for five weeks for around-the-clock care to stabilise and monitor her sugar levels. Eventually, she was diagnosed with a rare form of diabetes known as neonatal diabetes.
The best option to constantly monitor her condition is a continuous glucose monitor but before the federal government announced an additional investment into diabetes support, neonatal diabetes was not covered under the National Diabetes Services Scheme. With a sensor on Baylee’s leg, the monitor receives updates on her blood glucose levels and her parents are able to closely monitor when it drops and rises – and the equipment alarms them if there are any issues.
At such a young age, when abnormal glucose levels could cause developmental issues and be life-threatening, life without the equipment isn’t an option for Baylee and her family.
“If she was type one auto-immune she would have been fully subsidised up to the age of 21,” Baylee’s dad, Jarrad, explained.
Financially, the lack of subsidies meant that the Davies’ would be out of pocket by more than $500 a month in ongoing costs.
Determined to push for change not just for themselves but other families who might be in the same situation, they took their fight to the corridors of power in Canberra and were supported in their efforts by local federal MP Rowan Ramsey and one of his staff members, Kendall Jackson. Jacinta took to social media to start raising awareness about their plight and they were inundated with support.
When speaking to The Recorder, the couple said the community had rallied around them to raise money to help cover the costs of managing little Baylee’s condition.
“We’re really thankful for the help,” Jarrad said.
Speaking of the change to diabetes subsidies, he said they were surprised by how quickly the policy change came through.
Mr Ramsey said after bringing Baylee’s case to the Health Minister, he was pleased he had included neonatal diabetes to receive support. “Through my position as Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Diabetes I have met many people who will benefit from this announcement and I understand how this will help families in the future manage this life altering disease,” he said.