JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (10:50): Can I also extend my welcome to our visiting former speakers in the Chamber today. I want to talk to the Chamber today about an issue that I and many of my colleagues across both sides of the Chamber have been pleased to support for a number of years, and that is juvenile diabetes. There is a fantastic program, the Kids in the House program, where young people who are living with juvenile diabetes come along to talk to MPs about the importance of research in addressing juvenile diabetes.

This year was no different. I was very pleased to meet with some young people. Ethan, who is nine, and Mia, who is five, are from Bellambi in my electorate. They came along with Grace, who is 16 and is a local Canberra young lady. They all live with type 1 diabetes. They came as part of the Promise to Remember Me campaign that Kids in the House are running this year. I felt it was a really powerful message to have young people speaking on their own behalf of their lived experience and to be advocating for improvements in research in this very important area. They reflected to me that that constant battle 24 hours a day, seven days a week—there are no days off—affects not only them but their whole family. It has financial, emotional and visible impacts. I want to commend them on the really important work that they are doing in this space.

As a follow-up to that, about a month or so later, I was pleased to officially open the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's One Walk in Wollongong. It was at Fairy Meadow Beach reserve this year. It was thankfully a very nice day. There were lots of locals there, particularly in family groups, coming together to raise funds for research. I want to acknowledge Catherine and Craig McInerney, who are key organisers of that local event. They put a very strong message to everybody in the community, including those of us who are elected representatives, about the importance of this fundraising. I was joined by the Labor Deputy Mayor David Brown on that occasion. I think it's a reflection of the power of communities when they come together. I can certainly say that I will remember the request that was asked by us of young people that we continue to do more not only in health services but also in raising money for important research in juvenile diabetes. There are 845 constituents in my area dealing with diabetes, and we need to be supporting these young people.

Watch Sharon’s speech here.